Lizzie’s Persimmon Pudding

Every fall, I wait with baited breath for the arrival of the gorgeous, bright orange persimmons at the farmers market. Persimmons are my absolute favorite fruit. I love them crisp and sweet, like the slightly squat Fuyu. I love them meltingly soft and luscious, like the acorn-shaped Hachiya we’ll use in this recipe. I even love them practically mummified, like the preserved Hoshigaki. I love them so much my childhood nickname was Persimmon. (No, you’re not allowed to call me that, not unless you’ve known me since I was five.)

A few years ago, my dear friend Liz Haskell sent me a surprised package just before Christmas. I opened it to find a not-so-pretty steamed pudding. You know, one of those dark, dark brown, sodden-looking things. Not exactly appetizing stuff, but I knew she was a great cook so I tried it. One bite into the dense yet super tender pudding and I was in love! It tasted like a sticky toffee pudding took a Hachiya persimmon on a honeymoon and made sweet, sweet love to it. Yes, that good.

Of course I asked her for a recipe, and got it a few days later when a xeroxed copy of it arrived in the mail. Lizzie is a avid clipper of old recipes. She doesn’t just pick random ones, mind you. She’s an exigent collector. Over the decades, what she’s chosen to keep she uses, over and over. Needless to say I am now in possession of quite a few xeroxed copies from Liz’s recipe file. Today I’m sharing one of them with you, a slightly adapted version of her Steamed Persimmon Pudding. I think this recipe was originally attributed to Mrs.Reagan, yes that Mrs.Reagan, but for me it’s for ever and always Lizzie’s Persimmon Pudding.

This is a steamed pudding, so, naturally you’ll need a steamed pudding mold with a lid. You can buy them new, like this one, and this one on Amazon. I use a vintage version of this “Cathedral-style” one, it’s about 6 cups or 1.5 litre in capacity. If you’re looking for real vintage, eBay always have a few around. Or just be on the look out for one next time you visit a vintage shop. If you don’t want to buy one, you can make do with a bundt-style pan. It’ll be a little clunky but it’ll do just fine. You just need to improvise a lid from a couple layers of aluminum foil. You’ll also need a large pot, one big enough to hold the mold you’re planning to use, and one with a lid so you could cover the whole thing to steam. It’s a steamed pudding, remember? Lastly, I also recommend a stick blender, it’s the easiest way to get everything together in this recipe. I have one of these, and I love, love, love it. You can use a regular stand blender if you have one, or a food processor, or even a regular old whisk will do.

Lizzie’s Persimmon Pudding

  • 2 fl.oz | 60g brandy
  • 1 cup | 100g raisins
  • 1 stick | 115g butter
  • 1 cup | 300g Hachiya persimmon pulp (~ 3 persimmons)
  • 3/4 cup | 150g granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1 cup | 120g All-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup | 65g walnut halves

Fill a large pot about 1/4 way up with water. (You’ll want to make sure that when you put the pudding mold in the water doesn’t come up higher that 2/3 the side of the mold.) Place a small wire steaming rack at the bottom of the pot. If you don’t have it, two saucers stacked on top of each other will do the job. The whole idea is to keep your pudding mold from touching the bottom of the pot directly. (You’ll want to use old saucers you’re not emotionally attached to for this, they might not emerge looking pristine the way they go in.) Place the pot over medium heat and bring the water to a boil.

Meanwhile, butter the inside of a steamed pudding mold, make sure you get to every nooks and corners in the mold or you might have a problem unmolding the pudding at the end. When it doubt, use more butter.

Put the raisins in a small bowl, pour brandy over it and let the raisins plump in the brandy for five minutes. Melt the butter, however you do it is fine, just have it melted and set aside. Me, I nuke that thing.

Cut each persimmon in half, remove the pale cores and scoop out the pulp into a large bowl. You’ll need a bowl big enough to fit all the ingredients and leave room for you to stir. Discard the skin like last season’s jeans. Add the sugar, eggs, butter, salt, and vanilla to the persimmon bowl. Strain the brandy into it too, leave the raisins out for now. Measure the baking soda into a tiny cup or bowl, scoop two teaspoons of boiling (or almost boiling) water from the steam pot and stir in to the baking soda to activate it. Add the baking soda, now in paste form, to the persimmon bowl. Take a hand blender and blend everything until homogenous. (You can also do this in a large blender or a food processor.)

Sift together the flour and spices. Add to the persimmon bowl and blend again until homogenous. You’ll need to scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula to get everything nice and incorporated. Fold in the plump raisins and walnut halves to distribute them evenly in the batter.

Pour the batter into the buttered mold. (Say that five times. Go on, do it.) Poke the batter in the mold here and there a few times and tap the mold on the countertop to let out air pockets. Do remember to line the counter with a folded towel before you tap away or your vintage pudding mold will be sorry. Put the lid on the mold if you have a proper steamed pudding mold. (If you’re too cheap to buy one and must make do with a bundt pan or something, just cover it tightly with two layers of aluminum foil.) Place the filled mold into the pot, turn the heat down to simmer and let it steam for 2.5 hours.

Yes, I said two and a half hours, after which you will remove the mold from the pot, let cool for a few minutes, then open the lid and flip the mold over a pretty serving plate. Don’t even think about peeking, it’ll be a soggy mess. Just simmer it for 2.5 hours like the recipe says, you won’t overcook it, I promise. If you’re using smaller molds, then you’ll need to reduce the time a little, and you’ll need to check it. Just make sure you remove the mold from the pot before you peek inside it. You’ll know the pudding is done when the top springs back when pressed lightly.

To serve

  • 2 cups | 400ml of cream
  • 1/4 cup | 50g granulated sugar
  • enough brandy to taste it
  • some more brandy and a match to flambé it to serve, you pyromaniac you

When you’re ready to serve, whip the cream with the sugar and tip the bottle of brandy into it. No, not the whole bottle, but just enough so you could taste it. Frankly I never measure this part.  Put the whipped cream in a pretty bowl and set it on the table so your guests could serve themselves.

Pour some more brandy over the pudding, light a match and flambé it. Wait until the flame burns out before you slice the pudding and serve. (I didn’t think I needed to warn you but my lawyer made me.) The pudding keeps very well at room temperature, and has an added bonus of being surprisingly sturdy, so you could pack and ship it just about anywhere.

There you have it, and old-fashioned Steamed Persimmon Pudding. If you love it, raise a glass toward the general direction of Beverly Hills and drink to my darling Lizzie and her partner-in-gastronomic-high-crimes John Haskell. I know they’ll love it.

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39 Responses to “Lizzie’s Persimmon Pudding

  • Joelbaumwoll said:
    December 1st, 2010 at 9:49am

    I’ve had the pleasure of eating this pudding at Liz’s little bistro at Chez Haskell. I remember it and that “improvised” meal among my great eating experiences.

  • Anna said:
    December 1st, 2010 at 10:03am

    I’m following your blog. I like it very much! I’m from Spain so sorry if my english is a little bad ;P

    This pudding is great. The combination with persimmon, awesome. I will try it.

    I you want to look to my blog and if you like it, follow me. Thank you.

    Kisses and I will continue reading you

  • Emily said:
    December 1st, 2010 at 4:53pm

    Oh, yum- that look delish! I remember the first persimmon pudding I made about 15 years ago. I thought all “puddings” were like the Jell-o brand pudding you’d buy at the store. I didn’t get that true puddings were a steamed cake-like thing! Oh, the discoveries I’ve made over the years 🙂

  • Lippy said:
    December 1st, 2010 at 4:53pm

    I remember this being served at the White House by Nancy Reagan.

    • Pim said:
      December 3rd, 2010 at 6:58pm

      Yes, it was. I think Lizzie clipped it from the LA Times from the mid 80’s. I don’t have the xeroxed copy anymore, being a person of more digital age I typed mine into my recipe file and tossed the paper.

    • Pim said:
      December 3rd, 2010 at 6:58pm

      Yes, it was. I think Lizzie clipped it from the LA Times from the mid 80’s. I don’t have the xeroxed copy anymore, being a person of more digital age I typed mine into my recipe file and tossed the paper.

  • Val said:
    December 2nd, 2010 at 12:31pm

    I never knew you could cook with persimmon’s until only recently. I’ve yet to try it out but this does look like the best place to start. The idea of persimmons together with a sticky toffee style pudding is irrisistible.

    • Pim said:
      December 3rd, 2010 at 6:57pm

      It is absolutely irresistible. You got that right.

    • Pim said:
      December 3rd, 2010 at 6:57pm

      It is absolutely irresistible. You got that right.

  • tam said:
    December 2nd, 2010 at 7:10pm

    I LOVE this and love every iteration of persimmons as well 🙂 thanks for posting!

    • Pim said:
      December 3rd, 2010 at 6:56pm

      Try it and let me know how it turns out for you.

  • Kristen | said:
    December 3rd, 2010 at 7:14am

    Oh how funny – I was just saying I wanted to try a persimmon! Trying one in dessert sounds even better! 🙂

    • Pim said:
      December 3rd, 2010 at 6:56pm

      Well, you need to try them fresh too, and then make this dessert. I love the cross between cake and pudding nature of this dessert, and the flavor of persimmon comes through even after 2.5 hrs of steaming!

  • lizziee said:
    December 4th, 2010 at 4:21pm

    I am lizziee. I clipped the recipe from the Los Angeles Times 11/23/81. LAT labeled it “The First Lady’s Recipe.” Many thanks Pim.

  • Vickie said:
    December 6th, 2010 at 3:14pm

    I have a Persimmon Tree and I’m always looking for new recipes to try. Thanks for posting this – it looks delicious!!

  • Zerrinkorulu said:
    December 10th, 2010 at 1:09pm

    merhaba pim;
    harika bir kek teşekkürler yeni bir tarif için.

  • Momgateway said:
    December 11th, 2010 at 3:10am

    Perfectly ripened persimmons are unbelievable delicious as is, but in a pudding they must be heavenly.

  • Abbycv said:
    December 14th, 2010 at 6:14pm

    Hi Pim – this looks so good. Dear husband is having a hankering for chcolate steamed pudding.. any suggestions for a recipe?

  • Phoenixsees said:
    December 16th, 2010 at 7:10am

    Pim, this completely rocked my casbah.

  • hayley harland said:
    December 19th, 2010 at 10:49am

    You have made my mouth water from start to finish, this looks incredible. If I wasn’t snowed in right now I would be jumping in the car and driving to market to buy the ingredients. I cannot wait to make this.

  • Shannon said:
    December 20th, 2010 at 10:36pm

    I made this over the weekend and I wasn’t sure what to do with the melted stick of butter. It doesn’t reappear in the recipe after you nuke it! I added it to the batter, and the resulting pudding had an amazing texture, but was really salty. Once I could get around the salty flavor, the rest was terriffic!

    Should one omit the butter? Use unsalted butter? Thanks!

    • Shannon said:
      December 24th, 2010 at 5:38pm

      Oops…I see where the butter re-appears. I also think I may have added 1 1/2 tsp of salt instead of just 1/2. So, please ignore comment. I made this again for my family to enjoy for Christmas!

  • Dana said:
    December 27th, 2010 at 6:13am

    my kids really love pudding’s..i should make this..thanks
    Happy holidays!!

  • Loni said:
    January 7th, 2011 at 10:29pm

    how long after the dessert has steamed and cooled can it be stored? Can I serve it the next day at room temperature? What about two days? Trying to figure out how far in advance I can make this. Thanks!!!

    • Heidi said:
      April 9th, 2011 at 6:07pm

      My neighbor always gives us one for the holidays, and we can keep it in the freezer for months. You can make it pretty far in advance. :]

  • Tina said:
    January 21st, 2011 at 1:33pm

    I used to buy banana pudding and chocolate pudding in the bakery but never tried really to bake one. my kids love it as their snack during movie time. I should do it one time together with my daughters. I am sure they would love to bake their own snack too.

  • Equipoise said:
    February 9th, 2011 at 10:30am

    Great recipe, where do you get the molds anyway?

  • Deena said:
    February 12th, 2011 at 5:42am

    Nice. You are really amazing… you have a lot to share and I am enjoying every part of it. Baking is really a fun activity and it is such a great help to find recipes in the net. I have copied you recipe and have to try it one day.

  • Caitlin said:
    February 15th, 2011 at 4:29pm

    I love persimmons. Unfortunately, it’s out of season now. Definitely want to try this flavor next season.

  • party bags said:
    April 30th, 2011 at 10:54am

    I’ve never tasted a Persimmon Pudding. But I think it looks delicious. This would be a good choice in presenting to your guests.

  • li yong said:
    August 28th, 2011 at 2:29am

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  • Arie Gold said:
    September 26th, 2011 at 8:10am

    I could not find the steamed pudding mold in Amazon.. Can anyone help me please?

  • Kelly Parker said:
    September 27th, 2011 at 7:27am

    @yahoo-CGWF6ZJBXFDOGZEQB7ODHRMJBM:disqus Here is the direct link for buying the steamed pudding mold. Got this link through

  • Kelly Parker said:
    September 27th, 2011 at 7:27am

    @yahoo-CGWF6ZJBXFDOGZEQB7ODHRMJBM:disqus Here is the direct link for buying the steamed pudding mold. Got this link through

  • Deborahruthes said:
    October 4th, 2011 at 5:55pm

    Olá Pim, aqui no Brazil, temos Caqui nos quintais e nas ruas…

  • Margie310 said:
    December 11th, 2011 at 7:28pm

    Do you have any tips on how to ship a steamed pudding? 

  • spencer said:
    April 7th, 2013 at 9:04pm

    I tried this over last weekend and it was perfect! thanks so much for this. it’s amazing. I also baked a flourless chocolate cake from

  • kctaylor1 said:
    December 27th, 2013 at 6:18pm

    Can I freeze this after being made? Can you freeze Persimmons for later use?

  • George Vierra said:
    January 19th, 2014 at 12:11am

    persimmon pudding. No time to make. Any idea if a good one is sold
    commercially? Thank you. George Vierra, St. Helena

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