Great-Aunt Jenny’s Persimmon Pudding

A number of years ago, I asked my mother and her first cousins to recount favorite recipes and stories of growing up on Iowa farms during the 1930’s. This generation was quickly aging and I thought that it would be wise to capture their memories for a family reunion book. I love family history. The way of a living on a family farm during the 1920’s to 1930’s — for example, with a wood-burning kitchen stove — is just a memory now. Only one generation ago — my how times have changed! My second cousin, whose grandmother moved to California in about 1910, submitted her grandmother’s recipe for “Persimmon Pudding” for the reunion book.

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Pecan Tassies with Persimmon

If you like pecan pie, then you will like Pecan Tassies. And if you are not a fan of pecan pie, I bet you might like my version of this dessert. I added persimmon pulp (or you could add pumpkin puree) and the custard filling mellows out the rich and so, so sweet flavor of traditional pecan pie. A Pecan Tassie is a favorite Southern dessert served during the holiday season and is a great addition to any party or buffet.

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Persimmon Log Roll

I wanted to bake something really unique for a fall covered dish supper. I kept looking at the persimmons ripening on my backyard tree. How about a persimmon sponge cake roll? Now that’s different. Well I was in a hurry — the egg whites didn’t get stiff and my husband ate one of only two ripe persimmons. But I took the cake anyway and was pleased that it all disappeared. The cinnamon in the cake and cream cheese filling really toned down the flavor of the persimmons. Many folks said how tasty the cake was. Think I’ll make it again — this time properly.

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Peppery Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Persimmons and Onions

This blog post started out as an idea for using my backyard persimmons but is really more about the pork roast. I’ve been experimenting with various spice rubs for a pork tenderloin and finally have one that I really like. Last fall, I added persimmons, potatoes and onions to the roast to make a one pot meal. The persimmons are gone, but I’m still making this peppery pork roast and substituted Brussels sprouts.pork-loin-witih-louisiana-persimmons-potatoes-and-onions Continue reading

Bayou Persimmon Mud Pie and Persimmon Adventures

My persimmon tree is loaded with fruit this year. Enough for me, the birds, the squirrels and some to give away. I have several ideas for recipes including a variation on a cheesecake and persimmon salsa. But I’ve never known what kind of persimmon tree is growing in my backyard. A search for answers led me on an adventure to a unique persimmon grove in the heart of Baton Rouge.

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And It’s a Winner: Persimmon Upside-Down Cake

And back to persimmon cakes… A couple of weeks ago Baton Rouge Green, a non-profit organization which promotes green use of land through urban forests in our community (www.batonrougegreen.com), had their annual tree sale and also a recipe contest. The recipes had to be made with products from trees grown in Louisiana.

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Of course, I couldn’t pass up the chance to enter Persimmon Upside-Down Cake. I thought it was a novel entry and as well as delicious tasting. And the recipe won third place! Here is the recipe, and a printable version is on mayleeskitchen.com.

 

 

for the recipe

Let’s Make Persimmon Ice Cream (with Frangelico liqueur)

Burr!  It’s cold outside tonight; but never too cold for homemade ice cream.  What a cliche. Really, nothing compares to homemade ice cream, although some of the ice cream chain stores come close. And where could you ever find persimmon ice cream?

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When my father and father-in-law happened to be in town at the same time, they would always disappear together to locate the best ice cream store. Our family loves ice cream, and we made many favors of homemade ice cream when I was growing up.

I’ve continued to experiment with different types of ice cream over the years. Traditionally ice cream is rich in cream–making it a high fat, high calorie dessert. I have made several variations which are low in fat and taste surprisingly good. Persimmon Ice Cream is one such example.

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Autumn Persimmon Cake

Yes, those persimmons just keep coming. Here’s an easy way to use them. This cake is moist, tasty and attractive. The persimmons give a little zing.

I used a Duncan Hines Spice cake mix, added persimmons and pecans, and topped the cake with a simple glaze.

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1 box Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix (18.5 oz)
2 eggs
3/4 cup ripe mashed persimmon pulp from peeled persimmons (about 2 persimmons)
1/4 cup oil
1 cup water
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 8 inch Bunt cake pan (same thing as 8 cup Bundt cake pan).

In bowl of mixer, add cake mix, eggs, persimmon, oil and water. Mix on low to blend, then medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in chopped pecans. Pour into cake pan.

Bake 35 – 40 minutes. Cake should pull away from sides of pan and spring back on the top. A toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean. (Check cake after 35 minutes).

Cool the cake 10 minutes in the pan and then invert on to cake platter. Cool completely and top with glaze.

Glaze:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk (or more)

Whisk confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and milk together until blended, smooth and silky. Add additional milk, a small spoon at a time, if glaze is too thick to drizzle. Drizzle over cake. (You might have some glaze left for another use.) Be careful not to add too much milk. When a cook’s spoon is lifted up, the glaze should stay on the spoon and come off in a slow stream. The glaze hardens quickly – do don’t delay in spreading it on the cake.

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About Persimmons

We’d often walk home from school as  youngsters down a rural two-lane road in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. A persimmon tree grew along the fence.

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The fruit would ripen in the fall. I guess we were curious, as all young folk are, and the ripening fruit seemed tempting. I remember one particular day we decided to pick and eat several of the fruit.  I still can remember the pungent, astringent taste as we ran the rest of the way home to get the taste out of our mouths.  That was the last time I ate persimmons for many years.

So I was fascinated to discover that persimmons grew in Louisiana. My Cajun/Italian next door neighbor, Essie, would drive to the country on the weekends to her camp in French Settlement and return with an assortment of fresh produce. She’d love to call me up and say “come to the fence between our houses, I have something to give you.” Of course, I could never say “no.” So occasionally in the fall I’d receive a basket of persimmons.bowl of okra - Cannon - 10-13-13 - IMG_0037_1

And what could I do with the persimmons?I discovered that the persimmons cultivated in Louisiana are Oriental Persimmons. They are larger and much milder that native persimmons . As they ripen, the fruit becomes even more sweet and soft. They are tasty when eaten raw,such as added to fruit salads; or cooked in desserts and puddings.

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I even planted a persimmon tree. It has flourished over the years in my backyard and often results in a bountiful crop; enough for both the birds and our family.  It has given many opportunities to figure out ways to cook and use the fruit. 

Persimmon Upside Down Cake is one such recipe. For this cake, I adapted a old recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cake. The cake is easy to make, kind of a “dump it cake mix.” After baking and inverted, the persimmons and glaze on the bottom serve as the topping..

NOTES ON PERSIMMONS

  • Persimmons are available in grocery stores in the fall, so keep a look out for them; you don’t have to have a neighbor who goes to the country to pick them. Supermarket persimmons are probably still firm. Let the persimmons ripen at room temperature on your kitchen counter until soft and deep orange. I place a banana or apple in the container along with the persimmons. The ethylene released by these fruits helps the ripening process.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

  • Persimmons are a good source of the precursors for Vitamin A  They also contain Vitamin C, magnesium. In this cake recipe, they take the place of an egg and some of the oil, reducing the fat content in the cake.