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.
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