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 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
soft sauce.



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.



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 to
lukewarm



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