When I arrived in California in the early nineties, there were many fruits I had yet to taste: blood oranges, meyer lemons, bergamot, fresh figs, quince, pomegranates, passion fruit. And, of course, persimmons.
My first encounter with a persimmon was not pleasant. There's no doubt it was pretty- acorn-shaped with a coral blush- but so astringent that it left my mouth with a queer feeling of having swallowed a pin cushion stuffed with tiny needles. This is what everyone's raving about?! No thanks.
Eventually I learned that I had sampled a Hachiya, which, when allowed to ripen (oops!) is a brilliant deep orange, jelly-soft and honey-sweet, scooped from its peel with a spoon. When the fruit has practically burst through its skin, it's time to make this pudding.
This recipe was given to me by Sarah Egri, then pastry chef at Quince. She liked to serve it warm, with cognac cream. As terrific as this is, I like it even better cold for breakfast!
For mountain bakers like myself, add a splash more liquid, a pinch less both baking powder and soda, and raise the oven temp. by twenty-five degrees.
1 1/4 c AP flour
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 tsp b.soda
3/4 tsp b.powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 c hachiya persimmon pulp, pureed
3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 c milk
1/4 c cream
1 Tbl honey
1 c walnuts, toasted and chopped
3 oz butter, melted
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare a 9" round cake pan.
Combine dry ingredients
Combine wet ingredients (except butter), gradually adding to the dries.
Let stand a few minutes to thicken.
Add butter and nuts.
Bake 1 1/2 hours, or until set.
Slice into wedges and serve.