By Amy McCollom
In just two weeks, we will dine like kings! Thanksgiving Day will be here and it is traditionally a day filled with family, fun, and lots of food! There is usually so much food and lots of variety, that even the pickiest eaters can find something to fill their tummies.
Every family has that one favorite dish that is a legend. Available only during the holidays, it is only be made by one special person. You talk about it, dream about it, remember it, brag about it. You just can’t wait to eat it! Grandma Mel’s buns. Aunt Judy’s bread pudding. Uncle Dean’s green bean casserole. Granny’s orange fluff salad. Alice’s coconut cream pie. Anita’s homemade noodles. Hungry yet?
At my house, we had all the usual fare; turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, noodles and salads, and whatever else people brought. I am so glad that my mom stopped making that orange carrot salad. I don’t know who in their right mind thought that carrots and orange jello would taste good together, but that is what the recipe called for, topped off with mini marshmallows. Just when you think you have a cool dessert; bam, you bite into a vegetable. You should never have to chew your jello. That is just wrong.
There was one thing, though, that I couldn’t wait to enjoy. Persimmon pudding. My dad always made his special persimmon pudding recipe every year, always in the same oblong pan, and cut into small squares. I love persimmon pudding. There is nothing like it in the world. The texture, the unusual flavor, the Fall spicy-ness magnified on your taste buds. Accents the Thanksgiving meal perfectly. I savor every bite.
If you have never tried persimmon pudding, oh friend, I encourage you to add this unique wild Autumn delicacy to your Thanksgiving menu. I really think you will not be disappointed. If you happen to make batch and decide it’s not for you, I will gladly take it off your hands.
Now that my dad is passed and gone, I am not sure who is going to make the persimmon pudding this year, but I guarantee there will be Dad’s persimmon pudding at Thanksgiving. We cannot let that tradition die off. Where we have our meal and who is around our table may change, but some things are worth keeping around forever.
I cannot give you my dad’s recipe for his persimmon pudding, but I did find one that is similar. Use the small, American persimmons that are good and ripe (soft and golden). I hope you enjoy this as much as I do, and perhaps it can become a tradition that you look forward to each holiday as well.
Eva Powell, a former elementary-school librarian in Mitchell, Indiana, has won the town’s pudding contest five times with her recipe for persimmon pudding with a crispy, cake-like crust.
Yield: serves 8-10
* Pulp from enough halved ripe persimmons to make 2 cups (about 5 hachiyas)
* 2 cups sugar
* 2 eggs, beaten
* 1 1⁄2 cups buttermilk
* 1 tsp. baking soda
* 1 1⁄2 cups flour
* 1 tsp. baking powder
* 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
* Pinch salt
* 1⁄4 cup heavy cream
* 4 tbsp. butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Put pulp and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Beat in eggs. Put buttermilk and baking soda into a small bowl, and stir. Add to pulp, and mix well.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt into a medium bowl. Gradually add to pulp, stirring until well combined. Add heavy cream, and mix well.
3. Grease a 9’’ X 13’’ baking dish with some butter. Stir remaining butter into batter.
4. Pour batter into dish. Bake until dark brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Set aside to cool. Serve with whipped cream, if you like.