Old England comes West in this mellow steamed pudding Essay

Old England comes West in this mellow steamed pudding Moist and rich right from the steamer, and even more so whenmellowed by a few weeks’ aging, this Christmas pudding (shown onpage 79) is traditional in shape and preparation, but Western iningredients. Ripe persimmons contribute color and tender texture: driedprunes and nuts add to the flavor blend. Serve warm with the whippedsoft sauce. Steam the pudding in a pudding mold with lid, or a deep metal bowlof equal size covered with foil; secure the foil snugly with string. Persimmon Pudding 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 2 eggs 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 tolukewarm Soft sauce (recipe follows) Mix together sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a bowl, stirsoda 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, eitherplain or tubeshaped; cover tightly. Place on a rack in a deep 5- to6-quart (or larger) pan.

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Add 1 inch water, cover pan, and steam overmedium 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. Addboiling water as needed to keep about 1 inch in pan. Uncover pudding and let stand on a rack to cool slightly, about 15minutes. Invert onto a dish; lift off mold and serve. If made ahead, let cool. If desired, wrap pudding in a singlelayer of cheesecloth and moisten evenly with 3 to 4 tablespoons brandy.Wrap airtight in foil and refrigerate up to 2 weeks; freeze to storelonger (thaw wrapped).

To reheat, steam foil-wrapped pudding (discardcheesecloth) on a rack over 1 inch boiling water in a covered 5-to6-quart pan until hot, about 45 minutes. To flame pudding, warm remaining brandy, ignite, and pour overpudding (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 1/2teaspoon vanilla until very thick. Fold whites and yolks together.Serve, or keep at room temperature up to 2 hours; stir and serve.

Makesabout 2 1/4 cups. Photo: Test for doneness like a cake; center of pudding shouldspring back when touched

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