This Steamed Persimmon Christmas Pudding, of almond meal, warm spices and eggs, soaked in Brandy and lit on fire, is a vintage British tradition.
Charles Dickens story of A Christmas Carol, was the first and only time I had encountered The Christmas Pudding.
Now, married to a British Gentleman, I accepted the challenge to – Recreate The Christmas Pudding to serve to him to rekindle nostalgic memories from his childhood.
Traditions are like that, particularly at holiday time, when we reach deep into our memories to bring to life the flavors, smells, and tastes we remember as a child.
And so, I wanted to see if I might possibly do this for my husband.
Steamed Pudding Persimmon Recipe
Persimmon fruit, nuts and spices all simmering in a bath tucked away deep inside the oven, filling the house with aromas that bring a sparkle to the eye, and a lick to the lips is the best way I know to fill the home with love, starting from the kitchen.
The hub lived thirty-years of his life in Hong Kong while serving the queen doing James Bond type work. Shhhhh!
Persimmons are the national fruit of Japan, which are also easily found throughout many parts of Asia, a fruit my husband grew to love while living there.
This beautiful red-orange skin fruit, was also the inspiration of a Japanese Persimmon Muffin I created to enjoy during persimmon season.
What Is A Steamed Pudding
Here in the United States, we don’t often find popularity in steamed puddings.
A steamed pudding is really just a slow and low technique of cooking a dense, moist cake-like dessert, a technique that actually originated in England.
The batter is placed in baking dishes, which are then set in a pan half filled with water, much the same as when making a Creme Brulee.
The steaming water bath keeps the pudding very moist, while baking low and slow in the oven.
British Christmas Dessert
While a traditional British pudding can be just as much sweet as savory puddings, I have only had the sweet version served at Christmas time.
I’m sure Dickens and our passion for the storytelling in A Christmas Carol, is what introduced Christmas pudding to us Americans.
The technique used by Mrs. Cratchit, in the story, was a little different from our more elaborate kitchen facilities; something I came to experience while publishing 19th Century Memoirs of Adelaide Hall.
Beautiful earthenware baking dishes that will be set in a water bath in the oven, is what we might use today, though they had no oven bake then, only a huge fire in the kitchen to cook with.
Mrs. Cratchit, who was with little means (as the story goes), probably used a small copper wash pan (for lack of varied cooking utensils), to steam the pudding in while setting it in an iron pot of water and hung it over the fire for hours to steam.
Making A Proper British Persimmon Christmas Pudding
Fruits, either dried or fresh, or both together, are the first ingredient that gets decided on, when making our Christmas pudding; a combination often found in Winter Fruit Pies.
Since persimmons or apples are the dominant fruits we have access to in December (where I live), either makes for a delicious steamed pudding.
Figs, hence the name ‘Figgy Pudding,’ or any other dried fruit can be used alone or with a fresh fruit.
Too bad fig season is over by December, otherwise I would have made this pudding with fresh figs from my yard, as you will see I have numerous fig recipes.
The batter is mostly eggs, milk or cream, a variety of warm spices, chopped nuts and the fruit.
The smell that fills the house while this pudding is steaming is absolutely Christmas!
This recipe that I have created is fast and easy to assemble.
Cooking time is the only timely aspect, but then who doesn’t long for something warm in the oven on a cold winter day!
- Persimmon or Apples
- Lemon juice
- Baking soda
- Brown sugar
- Whipping cream
- Almond meal
- Baking powder
- Powdered sugar
- Brandy or Rum
- Mixing bowls
- Cutting board
- Chopping knife
- Baking dishes – either artisan handmade classic bowls or these lovely Mason Cash heritage bowls are worth owning.
- Roasting pan
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- A coin
Steamed Persimmon Christmas Pudding
- 4 Individual baking dishes
- Baking pan for the bath
- 4 Ripe Persimmons persimmon pulp only
- 1 1/2 cups Whole Milk
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- 1 tsp Baking soda
- 3 Eggs
- 1 1/2 cups Brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Whipping Cream
- 1/4 cup Almond meal crushed almonds
- 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter melted
- 1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp Mace
- Glazing syrup
- 1/4 cup Brandy
- 1 tbsp Powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 325. Prepare the individual baking dishes (or one large baking dish or bundt pan), by brushing a little melted butter inside the baking dish the pudding batter will be steamed in, cooking spray can also be used. Set the dishes in a deep pan and pour hot water halfway up the sides.
- Persimmon Puree – peel the outer skins from the persimmons. Rough chop and puree the persimmon in a food processor. Set the persimmon mixture aside.
- In a medium bowl, or 2-cup measuring cup, add the tablespoon lemon juice and baking soda to the milk. Stir and allow to sit to foam and thicken while you begin to mix the other ingredients.
- In a large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, almonds and cream. With a hand held electric mixer on medium speed, whisk this mixture.
- Add the remaining melted butter and cream butter into the egg batter. Whisk in the persimmon purée.Fold in the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder and spices, and mix well. Slowly pour the prepared milk, lemon soda mixture into the batter and mix well.
- Place one coin on the bottom of the mold of only one serving, then pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, cover pot with aluminum foil, making sure there is sufficient water to come halfway up the sides of the mold. A holiday tradition in England is to hide a coin (scrubbed), for good luck. Baking the dish inside of a covered pot/pan of water creates a steam bath and is the way this traditional dish, during the holiday season has always been done by the British. Bake for about an hour, or until the pudding looks firm and no longer jiggles.
- Glazing syrupMix the brandy and sugar together. Place a serving platter or individual dish, on top of the mold and flip it over to invert the warm pudding onto the plate. Drizzle the syrup on top of the pudding, place a sprig of holly on top and immediately light with a match. The blaze will die down and the pudding is ready to indulge all of your Christmas memories!