I knew there was a reason I carted this pudding mold with me over many moves, to various apartments in different cities. More than ten years after buying the thing, I finally put it to use, and the result was utterly delightful! I’d always imagined that a Christmas pudding would be completely laborious to prepare, and that its Dickensian glory would have to manifest only in my holi-daydreams. WELL. I found some wonderfully ripe persimmons when I was shopping in Chinatown the other night and decided to just push through and go for it, and I’m here to tell you that making a Christmas pudding is not really all that difficult! And it tastes just a glorious as I imagined it would. (I’m not sure the exact history of the traditional plum pudding, and of what it means to add persimmons, but I know that’s also a thing that people do, and I know that it is really delicious.)
I’ve cut the sugar a bit in my since I don’t like my desserts to be overly sweet, and I’ve made this version gluten free (though you can easily use all-purpose flour here is gluten is not a concern for you). I know I just blogged another persimmon recipe last week, but those were fuyu and these are hachiya, and hey, ’tis the season. The amazing Christmas tree plates in the photo were my antique market score I mentioned a few weeks ago. SO festive. And we just got a Christmas tree, so the holiday spirit is strong right now in our household.
We’re also just coming off of our Hanukkah latke high—I used this recipe from epicurious.com, subbing a mixture of almond flour and tapioca starch for the matzo meal, and the latkes were amazing!
It’s now full-on holiday party time, and we went to a great one this weekend. We have friends from Venezuela, and they prepared a traditional feast, with pernil, yuca, ham bread, and Venezuelan eggnog. So delicious! Next weekend we’re having our annual eggnog-centric holiday party, and I’ll be making sausage cheese balls as always, plus some other things TBD. Maybe I’ll even make another persimmon pudding, because why not, it’s so easy!
Persimmon Pudding with Hard Sauce (gluten free)
special equipment: metal pudding mold
For the pudding
- 1 1/4 cups persimmon purée, from 2 to 3 very ripe hachiya persimmons, peeled and seeded
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for buttering the mold
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or sun light brown sugar)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp brandy
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/3 cup coconut flour
- 2 tbsp tapioca starch (You can also use 1 cup total gluten-free flour blend and omit the almond flour, coconut flour, and tapioca starch. Or use all-purpose wheat flour if gluten is not a concern for you. Reduce the persimmon purée to one cup if you make either of these substitutions, as the coconut flour is more absorbent than other flours.)
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Butter the pudding mold and the inside of its lid, making sure everything is well coated.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter with the coconut sugar until creamy and lightened in color, a few minutes. (You can do this with a hand-held beater, but I just use a spoon.) Add the eggs, brandy, and vanilla and stir until combined. In a small bowl, mix the flours, salt, baking soda, and spices.
- Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir, then stir in half the persimmon purée. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and persimmon purée. Stir in the raisins and walnuts, transfer the batter to the pudding mold, and close the mold tightly.
- Place the pudding mold in a large pot and add water to the pot to come halfway up the sides of the mold. Bring the water to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for about 2 hours, checking from time and adding more water if it has evaporated. A fork stuck into the pudding should come out clean when it is ready. Let the pudding cool for one hour before carefully turning out into a serving plate. Serve warm with hard sauce.
For the hard sauce
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar
- Pinch salt
- 1 tbsp brandy
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, powdered sugar, and salt until fluffy, a few minutes. Whisk in the brandy until thoroughly combined.