donut pan idea no. 27: persimmon pudding

I haven't made this recipe in years, but every fall it crosses my mind. Persimmon pudding! In a perfect donut shape. I'd wager to say a plum pudding might be just as much fun served this way.

This recipe was given to me by an older Chinese colleague when I was working as an architect on a chest-pain-inducing train station project, lifetimes ago. I have always loved it and craved it. I just did some research and am 99% sure that this is an Alice Waters recipe. Who knew?

The recipe requires one and a half pound of completely ripe, jelly-like Hachiya persimmons. I would've shared this donut pan idea earlier if it hadn't taken over a week for my persimmons to ripen. I had them in a dark closet, in a paper bag with an apple and some rice as instructed. Six days later I finally bit the bullet and went back to the Asian market where I bought the persimmons. I dug around in the boxes BELOW the outdoor produce stands until I found some really, really ripe fruit. REALLY ripe. 

Left = unripe, right = ripe.

Along with the 1 1/2 lbs. of ripe Hachiya persimmons, you will need 1 1/4 c. flour, 1/8 tsp. salt, 3/4 tsp. baking soda, 3/4 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 3/4 c. sugar, 3 eggs, 1 1/2 c. milk, 1/4 c. whipping cream (plus more to make whipped cream with), 1 tbsp. honey, 1/2 c. walnuts and 6 tbsp. unsalted butter (plus more to butter pans).

This recipe yields eighteen persimmon puddings, so start by buttering the cavities of three donut pans. Toast your walnuts for 5-6 minutes at 350º and let them cool. Bring the oven temperature down to 325º while you scoop the pulp out of the persimmons. It's a messy and fun task.

Whisk together the 1 3/4 c. flour, 1/8 tsp. salt, 3/4 tsp. baking soda, 3/4 tsp. baking powder and 1 tsp. cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Puree the persimmon pulp in a blender, then add to the blender the three eggs, 3/4 c. sugar, 1 1/2 c. milk, 1/4 c. whipping cream and 1 tbsp. honey. Blend until just combined, then add the liquid into the dry mixture a little at a time.

Melt the six tbsp. of unsalted butter. While that's going, chop the toasted walnuts into fairly small bits to fit into the pans without overwhelming the pudding. When the butter has cooled slightly, stir the nuts and butter into the batter. Persimmons are so strange. They make the batter congeal so it looks almost like a mousse. Spoon the batter into the buttered donut pans and bake for between 20-30 minutes. You want the middles to be slightly gooey while the outsides are golden-to-dark brown. If you were to follow the original recipe this would bake in a springform pan for 2-3 hours at 350º, but because the donuts are shallow with so much surface area, 20-30 minutes at 325º is all it takes. Watch them carefully.

When the puddings are done, you want to loosen them from the pans while the center edges are still pliable. Wedge a toothpick in between the center of the pan and the center of the pudding, which will make the removal of the rest of the pudding ring easier. Pry the outer edges loose with a butter knife and dig in. Or maybe whip up some cream and just start dipping. 

In an attempt to keep us all from eating these ourselves, I gave some to our neighbors and froze some. Funny thing, they are even delicious frozen! 

Also, be warned. Stella, Oliver and I were fine, but David (the one person in our whole house with no allergies whatsoever, or at least we thought) ended up with extremely puffy eyes after eating these on two separate occasions. The kind of puffy eyes that only a dose of Benadryl and a good night's sleep can remedy. Some people are allergic to persimmons is all. Poor David!


  1. Wow! Although I'd probably eat anything in the shape of a donut, these look amazing!

    1. Thank you, SoHo! The first time I ever ate persimmon pudding I thought it was the greatest dessert on earth. :)


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