Romancing the Persimmon

A pudding dish for your holiday meals

PERMISSION TO PERSIMMON: This popular underground persimmon pudding may put the fruit’s haters’ money where their mouths are. Photos by Terra Stodtmeister

If you’re anything like Moonshine Ink’s publisher, Mayumi Peacock, you may hate persimmons. The below recipe is a way to prove you, dear reader, and Mayumi, wrong. 

This persimmon pudding — which ends up looking more like a cake — is a holiday staple for my in-laws, and I asked my sister-in-law almost a year ago if I could share this goodness with Moonshine readers. 

As it turns out, while the recipe below has been in her family for a few generations, it stems from a popular Bay Area dish. Many families have made it their own over the years. What you’ll read below has trickled down the Dutton/Bailey line. For more history on this dessert, I recommend this Food52 blog post, One Bite of This Californian Persimmon Pudding and It Was Christmas (which has its own variation of the recipe).

PERMISSION TO PERSIMMON: This popular underground persimmon pudding may put the fruit’s
haters’ money where their mouths are. Photos by Terra Stodtmeister

Here’s to, ideally, changing the mind of the anti-persimmon crowd — and especially Mayumi. 

Persimmon Pudding

a Dutton/Bailey Family take
on a popular Bay Area recipe

6 to 8 servings

Steamed pudding mold with lid
Food processor or blender
Large pot with tight-sealing lid to hold pudding mold

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup persimmon pulp*
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice

* Bring about three to four ripe persimmons (hachiya persimmons are normally used for baking, but fuyu persimmons work well, too), quartered, to pulp in a food processor or blender. Persimmons can be peeled (personal preference). If they are not fully ripe, you can remove the tougher core.

1 egg (beaten)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 pint whipping cream

1. Butter the pudding mold thoroughly, including the inside of the lid.
2. Mix dry pudding ingredients together in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix thoroughly.
3. Pour mix into pudding mold. Place mold in large pot and fill pot 1/3-way with water. Ensure pot lid seals completely.
4. Place on stovetop and bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
5. Steam for 2 and 1/2 hours (if doubling recipe, steam for 3 hours). Monitor water level near end of timeframe. Add more water if needed; bring to a boil; reduce once again to simmer.
6. Persimmon pudding will appear more like a cake when complete. Pull off stove and out of pot. Let cool in mold.
7. For sauce: While pudding is cooling, mix powdered sugar, melted butter, vanilla, and lemon juice. Add beaten egg. Whip cream separately until between soft to stiff peaks — the stiffer it’s whipped, the longer the cream will hold thickness when added to other ingredients. Add cream to other ingredients, combine, and serve. Can be refrigerated.
8. Take out pudding as you would a Bundt cake. Serve immediately by pouring sauce over individual slices.

• For storage, consider plastic wrap and tin foil to retain moisture, then place in refrigerator or freezer.
• Persimmons can be frozen in advance, then thawed and pulped.
• Maker preference is to make the pudding the day before and sauce day-of.


  • Alex Hoeft

    Alex Hoeft joined Moonshine staff in May 2019, happy to return to the world of journalism after a few years in community outreach. She has both her bachelor's and Master's in journalism, from Brigham Young University and University of Nevada, Reno, respectively. When she's not journalism-ing, she's wrangling her toddler or reading a book — or doing both at the same time.

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