Persimmon Pudding Cake

Hachiya persimmons can bake up into a delicious, moist cake that is almost a pudding. This recipe takes only a half cup of added sugar and uses the sweetness of the persimmon pulp.

persimmons.jpg persimmons-1.jpg
Left: unripe Hachiya persimmons; Right: ripe Hachiya persimmons

Persimmons are a fruit of fall, displaying their bright orange orbs right around the time a chill sets in and trees begin to lose their leaves. They come in two varieties – Fuyu and Hachiya – with very different properties. The Fuyu persimmons are short and squat, looking a little like tomatoes; they are meant to be peeled, sliced, and eaten like apples. Hachiya (those pictured are Hachiya) are larger than the Fuyu and somewhat acorn shaped. They need to ripen completely.

persimmon-pulp.jpg
When the Hachiya persimmon behaves like a seriously overripe tomato (completely soft to the touch all around) and its insides are a slurry, that’s when they can be opened, and the sweet pulp spooned out and eaten. One makes baked goods with the pulp from Hachiya persimmons. For convenience the pulp can be frozen in one or two cup batches.

Persimmon Pudding Cake Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 8.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of Hachiya persimmon pulp
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1 cup chopped nuts - pecans or walnuts
  • Whipping cream

Method

1 Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, mix the persimmon pulp, eggs, butter, milk and vanilla.

2 In a separate bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

3 Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, a third at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Add the chopped nuts.

4 Bake in a square glass pan, buttered, at 400°F until done (about 50 minutes).

Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

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Links
Harold McGee on why persimmon pudding turns brown - article in the New York Times, it has to do with the alkaline environment encouraging browning reactions
Harold's recipe for 2-toned persimmon pudding
Persimmon Cookies

18 Comments

  1. Jeanine

    Made this today–it came out very well! I only had 3 ripe persimmons, but I used a supplemental bit of applesauce to make up the 2 cups. Nice and light, with a little bit of crispness on the edges. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Tammy

    Oh goodness. To be back in California for the fall…. My best friend, growing up in No. Cal., had a persimmon tree in her Dad’s front yard. He would make persimmon pancakes (!!!) with the pulp as long as they had ripe fruit. Needless to say, I spent a LOT of autumn nights at their place, just so I could wake up to persimmon pancakes.

    Unfortunately, persimmons are pretty rare in Ohio. Thanks for the post – that cake looks divine!!

  3. Beverly

    I just had to let you know that my Armenian grandmother made this every year and she brought the recipe from her homeland… Armenia. My dad loves it so much that he planted a persimmon tree 30 years ago and I learned to make it, too. The only difference is that we have always served it with a lemon curd type of syrup, which makes it absolutely OVER THE TOP! Here’s a hint to check for ripeness: when the persimmon has black spots on the outside and feels just a bit squishy then it’s just right!

  4. AMM

    What about the seeds? How do you get them off?

  5. Xanthippe

    One of my favorite fall desserts, and my go-to dish for Thanksgiving potlucks! I love the homey, moist, spicy goodness that is a nice change from pumpkin if one needs it. My recipe is very similar, but uses buttermilk which adds a bit of tanginess to the pudding.

    Great photo, too!

  6. Xanthippe

    AMM, you asked about the seeds and how to remove them. If you put the ripe fruit through a food mill (which is what I do) or potato ricer, the seeds won’t end up in the pulp; either method works beautifully.

  7. katie

    It says to bake in a square pan, can anyone suggest a size? I think this would be really good to bring to Thanksgiving dinner.

  8. judy

    Turned out very very good, can’t seem place the taste, very mild, Kate I am taking this to thanksgiving dinner. It will be a different kind of hit.

  9. Diane Smith

    Hi, I just made the persimmon cake and it was terrific. I left out the nuts because my daughter won’t eat them but it still beat all the other recipes I’ve tried. Persimmon pudding/ cake is one of my husband’s favorite foods. For years I’ve tried to make a recipe that we could both live with. Most recipes, it seems to me, don’t have much flavor or are too sweet. This one was perfect – I did add a bit of lemon zest to see how it would be and I liked it. It has a nice festive flavor – I think it would be lovely for Thanksgiving.

  10. Debbie

    My family has been making Persimmon Pudding for many generations and I thank the Lord that Indiana is full of persimmon trees. One thing you might add to your recipe to make it more like pudding stir every 15 minutes while baking and stir again when finished it gives it a different texture. Pudding will last refrigerated 1 month. The pulp will last 1 year in freezer.

  11. John

    I have a Fuyu persimmon tree and was frustrated that they don’t soften enough to make good pulp-based baked goods… Then I discovered the secret:

    Take nicely colored, ripe (not soft) Fuyu persimmons and freeze them whole. Overnight is fine. Thaw them and their texture is transformed to something more like a canned peach. Absolutely lovely sliced over yogurt or ice cream, and perfect for use in persimmon pudding or other baked goods.

  12. Kristina Gillingham

    Hi, I was wondering if a food mill or a potato ricer takes all the pulp off the seeds of the persimmon. Also what is a potato ricer?

    You could try a food mill or a ricer. I haven’t used either for that purpose. As for a ricer, typically it’s used to press freshly baked or boiled potatoes through it to make mashed potatoes. We also use it to press the water out of freshly grated raw potatoes for hash browns. ~Elise

  13. Teresa Ann Kratzman

    My Mom makes persimmon pudding every year. After a day or so it starts turning dark. Although this doesn’t affect the taste at all, We are curious. She keeps it in the fridge, becuase we prefer it chilled, would that cause it to turn?

    No idea, this persimmon pudding comes out dark and stays dark. ~Elise

  14. Kathi

    FYI…I’ve had pureed persimmon in freezer bags last 3 yrs with no ill affect & it doesn’t discolor. I’ve been making my Grandma’s persimmon cookie recipe for years, but have been looking for a persimmon pudding recipe.

    I’m giving this one a try for a charity potluck tomorrow. Can’t wait for the ladies’ comments!

  15. Anoush

    My Armenian family makes something very similar to this too! Can’t wait to try this version.

  16. Kim

    Made it today (Nov 18, 2011) and it was quite a hit. I didn’t have all spice and nuts (peacan or walnut), so I just used a cup of raisins instead and I guess it is sweeter that way. Next time I will make sure I have either walnuts or pecans! I also used half cup of dark brown sugar and half of white. I used 3 frozen hachiya persimmons, I wish I had 4. My next item will be persimmons cookie. :)

    To AMM: what kind of persimmon are you using? Hachiya kind normally doesn’t have any seed.

  17. ANNE-MARIE

    Um…. Maybe this shows how green I am as a cook, but I didn’t realize that this cake was going to rise… and I poured it into a pan that was not exactly square, and when I checked back… there was exploded cake batter all over the bottom of my oven.

    Okay, it was more like a runoff, but it wasn’t cool. At least some of that runoff tasted good!

  18. KerryAnn May

    I tried this recipe tonite. did not come out right. it was liquid in the middle and burnt on top and on the sides. inedible. not sure what i did wrong. i used an 8 x 8 square pan. our oven runs pretty close to the degree we set it at.

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