What’s a Hoosier Thanksgiving feast without persimmon pudding? A travesty, that’s what! Whoever heard of such a thing? Ridiculous.
Persimmons don’t grow in too many places, so chances are good that most of you have never heard of them. However, southern Indiana is a persimmon tree’s favorite home, and the trees grow healthy and prolific here. My fantastic and generous cousin gives me persimmon pulp, fresh from her parents’ back yard. That’s right; the best pulp is from very ripe persimmons you pick up off the ground. Don’t worry, we rinse them good before we put them through the grinder.
She gives me persimmon pulp and I give her loaves of homemade bread. I think I get the best of this deal.
Hint: Don’t EVER taste a green persimmon, unless you like the sensation a blast of raw alum gives to your lips and tongue. Persimmons must be ripe before they can be used. VERY ripe. Asking someone you’re mad at to just “touch your tongue to this green persimmon for a second” is a fun, albeit cruel (depending on the age of the taster) trick to play on someone. Raw alum on the tongue. Yum. It’s a sensation vaguely akin to being turned inside out by the tongue.
On second thought, everybody should try that at least once. How else can you appreciate the fun of doing it to someone else?
By request (ask, and ye shall receive) here is my very own tried-and-true persimmon pudding recipe again. I’ve tweaked it over the years until it was perfection in a pan.
Hoosiers can be very protective and possessive of their persimmon pudding recipes, but I’m not. People have been asking me for it, so here it is:
Jane’s Persimmon Pudding
First of all, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. NO HOTTER.
Get out a very large bowl.
Put the following ingredients in it:
2 C. persimmon pulp (Use fresh or frozen; the canned stuff is terrible.)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 C sugar (I use Truvia)
1 C brown sugar (don’t use fake)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (don’t leave it out!!!!) (don’t use fake salt, either.)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
2 1/2 C evaporated milk (not sweetened milk) (Some people use buttermilk.) (I don’t)
1/2 stick butter, softened (not oil.) (not margarine.)
Put everything in that large bowl and mix thoroughly. Use an electric mixer if you don’t think you can get it blended by hand. Get the lumps out.
Pour mixture into a large buttered baking pan.
Put the pan in the oven. Set your timer for 60 minutes.
After the timer goes off, stick a toothpick in the center of the pudding. Clean? It’s done.
Let it cool just enough to slice. Most people like to top it with whipped cream. Non-Hoosiers often sprinkle nuts on it.
You can also add coconut or pecans or cocoa to the mixture, but then it’s not Hoosier Persimmon Pudding. Your call.