Thursday, January 17, 2008
It's unrepentantly old-fashioned, free-standing, and decadent as only the last loyal citizen of a crumbling empire can be. Think "pudding" as in "bread pudding": what seems mere cake at first slice turns all syrupy-spicy-custardy under a generous lather of cream and then disappears to leave you dazed and dreamy-eyed, not unlike T. Ellsworth when The Girl went back to her fiance in Mexico.
I adapted this recipe somewhat arbitrarily based on the large units in which I had frozen my persimmon pulp. Having nearly a quart of persimmon on hand, I reduced the milk and splashed in all my silky red-orange pulp with wantonly intemperate glee. A certain prodigality was due if we were to forget the threat of barbarian invasion (winter strawberries) for one gloriously debauched night of persimmon indulgence. Incidentally, the sun never sets on the persimmon empire, since persimmons are native to all four hemispheres.
In the end, my recipe looked like this:
Preheat the oven to 325. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in the warming oven. Mix together 3.5 cups hachiya persimmon pulp, 1/4 c. cream, 1/2 c. whole milk, 2 tablespoons honey, 3 tablespoons maple syrup, a splash of vanilla, and 3 eggs. Pull the butter from the oven when it's melted to let it cool a bit, but no harm done if it gets a chance to brown a little.
In another bowl, whisk together 1.5 c. flour, 3/4 tsp. baking powder, 3/4 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 c. brown sugar, 1.5 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg and 1 tsp. salt. Add the wets to the dries and combine well. Let stand while you finish up.
Butter your large springform pan and lightly toast 2/3 c. walnuts. Break up the walnuts and add them to the batter, along with 1/3 c. raisins and the slightly-cooled butter. Pour the batter into the pan and slide it into the oven with a baking sheet underneath to catch any drips. Bake 45 minutes. If you have to run out suddenly at this point to move your cats to fresher pastures, just turn off the oven and leave it till your return. The pudding should rise in the center and form deep glassy rifts while still quivering in invitation.
Serve with pillows of whipped cream: whisk 1.5 c. heavy whipping cream, 1/4 c. maple syrup, and 1 tsp. vanilla till almost stiff shortly before serving.