Essentials: Persimmon Pudding
A cold-weather classic
To make a proper Midwestern persimmon pudding, you need wild-harvested American persimmons.
That’s most of the fun. Made with supermarket persimmons, the pudding should still be decent—soft and treacly, with a texture somewhere between gingerbread and pumpkin pie filling. But for me, the point is to find a wild tree hung with squishy, golf-ball-sized wild fruits, glowing orange in the fall sun, and to pulp them yourself, tasting the jammy, creamsicle-flavored purée straight out of the bowl before folding it into the batter and baking the old-fashioned dessert.
A Midwestern persimmon pudding is a statement about time and place, and no supermarket shipment of California-grown Fuyu or Hachiya persimmons has the soul—or, for that matter, the soft texture or essential sugar-plum and holiday-spice flavors—of a bucket of half-smushed wild American persimmons picked on the side of the road somewhere in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, or Missouri. —Jed Portman
Jed Portman edits Midwesterner.
Kevin Necessary is a freelance illustrator and editorial cartoonist. He is currently the editorial cartoonist for The Cincinnati Enquirer. His cartoons are syndicated by GoComics, and his cartoons have been published in a variety of publications such as The Week and Politico. A Cincinnati native, Kevin will fight to the death defending Cincinnati chili. He lives with his wife, Julie, and three cats, Huckleberry, Grayson, and Bonnie.