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On a short hiatus from the book tour, Vivian takes the twins to pick persimmons off Mrs. Betty’s tree and learns about the different varieties of the fruit. She then takes that knowledge to Atlanta where an event called “Hired Guns” pits chefs and their dishes against each other. Back in Kinston, Vivian gets a pudding lesson from chef Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill.
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Featured Ingredient: Persimmons
Bill Smith’s Persimmon Pudding
Chapel Hill chef Bill Smith is a regular on a A Chef’s Life and this time he shares a recipe for persimmons. Smith recommends an old-fashioned food mill, such as Mulinex, for pureeing the persimmons. Persimmons are the featured ingredient in Persimmon Style in Season 5 of A Chef's Life.
Reprinted with permission from “Seasoned in the South: Recipes from Crook’s Corner and From Home,” by Bill Smith (Algonquin Books, 2006)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
- 3 cups persimmons
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Whipped cream, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 4x8x12 inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon butter. Use a food mill, sieve or cone strainer to remove the seeds from the persimmons and puree the pulp; it will reduce them from 3 cups to 2 cups. Combine the puree with the buttermilk. Beat the remaining butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until fluffy. Add the eggs one by one. By hand, in a large mixing bowl, stir the persimmons into the butter.
- Sift all the dry ingredients together and fold them into the persimmon mixture. Put the batter into the baking pan, and place the pan in a larger pan and fill halfway up with warm water. Bake, uncovered, for 1¼ hours, or until the pudding is firm at the center, has pulled away from the sides of its pan, and a paring knife inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean.
- Serve hot with fresh whipped cream. This keeps well in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days and reheats beautifully in the oven or microwave.
Yield: 8-10 servings