Old England comes West in this mellow steamed pudding
Moist and rich right from the steamer, and even more so when
mellowed by a few weeks’ aging, this Christmas pudding (shown on
page 79) is traditional in shape and preparation, but Western in
ingredients. Ripe persimmons contribute color and tender texture: dried
prunes and nuts add to the flavor blend. Serve warm with the whipped
Steam the pudding in a pudding mold with lid, or a deep metal bowl
of equal size covered with foil; secure the foil snugly with string.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon baking soda Water
1 1/2 cups ripe persimmon pulp
1 1/2 cups chopped pitted prunes
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or pistachios
3/4 cup brandy
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) butter or margarine, melted and cooled to
Soft sauce (recipe follows)
Mix together sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a bowl, stir
soda with 3 tablespoons hot water, then mix in persimmon pulp and eggs;
beat until blended. Add sugar mixture, prunes, nuts, 1/3 cup brandy,
vanilla, lemon juice, and butter. Stir until evenly mixed.
Scrape batter into a buttered 9-to 10-cup pudding mold, either
plain or tubeshaped; cover tightly. Place on a rack in a deep 5- to
6-quart (or larger) pan. Add 1 inch water, cover pan, and steam over
medium heat until pudding is firm when lightly pressed in the center,
about 2 1/4 hours for tube mold, 2 1/2 hours for plain mold. Add
boiling water as needed to keep about 1 inch in pan.
Uncover pudding and let stand on a rack to cool slightly, about 15
minutes. Invert onto a dish; lift off mold and serve.
If made ahead, let cool. If desired, wrap pudding in a single
layer of cheesecloth and moisten evenly with 3 to 4 tablespoons brandy.
Wrap airtight in foil and refrigerate up to 2 weeks; freeze to store
longer (thaw wrapped). To reheat, steam foil-wrapped pudding (discard
cheesecloth) on a rack over 1 inch boiling water in a covered 5-to
6-quart pan until hot, about 45 minutes.
To flame pudding, warm remaining brandy, ignite, and pour over
pudding (away from flammable items). Slice and serve with soft sauce.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Soft sauce. Whip 2 egg whites until they hold soft peaks;
gradually whip in 1/2 cup powdered sugar until whites hold stiff peaks.
With same beater, whip 2 egg yolks with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/2
teaspoon vanilla until very thick. Fold whites and yolks together.
Serve, or keep at room temperature up to 2 hours; stir and serve. Makes
about 2 1/4 cups.
Photo: Test for doneness like a cake; center of pudding should
spring back when touched