Some moderns might disagree, but old-timers say, “Wait 'til after the first frost to gather 'em; that's when persimmons are sweetest.” Even then these brownish-orange, soft and wrinkled little fruits have a mouth-puckering deliciousness only bordering on sweetness. Most people don't eat a lot of them raw, but rather use them to make persimmon pudding. This country dessert, in which sugar or another sweetener compliment the smack of the persimmons, is especially well-remembered in mountain communities.
The following recipe, contributed by Muriel A. Gray of Tacoma, Washington, was prepared by her mother-in-law (who would be 104 if alive today). The recipe was widely used in southern Illinois.
If you can't go persimmon hunting in the hills, you can purchase persimmons in grocery stores.
- 2 c. sugar
- 2 c. persimmon pulp
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 c. flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/4 c. buttermilk
- Pinch of salt
- Butter the size of an egg
Mix sugar and pulp. Add beaten eggs. Sift flour three times and add baking powder and cinnamon. Add soda to buttermilk. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to persimmon pulp. Add salt. Melt butter in pan in which you will pour batter. Pour excess melted butter into batter, then all into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour at 300° to 325° F. Cool. Serve with whipped cream.
Available directly from the publisher, and at museums throughout the United States.
Refreshments Now and Then
Sweet Memories of Christmas
Simply Scrumptious Southern Sweets
Copyright © 2003 Patricia B. Mitchell.