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Persimmon Pudding with Lemon Cream Sauce


Persimmon pudding with lemon cream sauce.

Persimmon pudding with lemon cream sauce.

Terri Pischoff Wuerthner

This is the most popular dessert I make. Friends and family have been asking for it every holiday season since I first made it, about 20 years ago when a friend gave me home grown persimmons.

I had never tasted persimmons, and certainly never cooked with them. Someone suggested I make persimmon pudding, which didn't appeal to me at all as I envisioned traditional pudding. Then I remembered a chocolate pudding that we made in cooking school and recalled that this type of pudding is actually a cake that is put in a mold (or coffee can) and cooked with steam rather than dry heat, rendering a moist, velvety texture.

Yield: Serves 8


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 pounds ripe Hachiya persimmons, pulp removed and mashed*
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 taablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cup whipped cream (1/2 cup unwhipped)


*If you can't find ripe persimmons, put them in the freezer for several hours or overnight. When they defrost, they will be as soft as ripe persimmons.

Persimmon Pudding:

Combine butter and sugar with a fork until fluffy. Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add mashed persimmon pulp (approximately 2 cups), and milk, mixing well.

Mix flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and lemon peel and add to persimmon mixture. Stir to combine well and spoon into an oiled and floured traditional pudding mold or bundt pan, or an oiled and floured 2-pound coffee can. If using a bundt pan or coffee can, cover top with foil, tie well with a string to keep water out, and fold the foil up and over after tying, so the foil doesn't bring the simmering water into the inside of the cooking vessel.

Place on a rack or trivet in a deep pot such as a stock pot. Add enough boiling water to reach halfway up the mold, pan or can, cover pot and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 2 hours. Remove can from pot and let the pudding set for 5 minutes before unmolding.

To refrigerate or freeze, cool completely and wrap tightly with foil. Will keep several weeks in refrigerator, or three months in freezer. If frozen, defrost and bring to room temperature. To reheat, return to pudding mold, pan or can, cover with foil and tie as before, and steam, this time for about 45 minutes, or until hot. Serve with chilled Lemon Cream Sauce. 

Lemon Cream Sauce:

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a heavy pan. Add lemon juice and water and stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly, until mixture is clear and thick. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and cool completely. Add orange zest and fold in whipped cream. This may be made up to 1 day ahead, covered, and refrigerated.

Take a look at the Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner for a helpful timetable and more easy Thanksgiving recipes.

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