Monday, November 7, 2011

Persimmon cornbread pudding

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When I walk around my neighborhood, I catalog fruit trees. I know who has the most prolific loquat, whose tangerines are ready to drop, and whose Santa Rosa plums need pruning. I've tried, and failed, to gather enough courage to knock on the front doors belonging to the apricot, fig and tangelo trees whose fruit I covet, even though I suspect the squirrels are getting most of it.

Backyard fruit is one of the best things about living in southern California. Especially when said fruit belongs to friends who are happy to share.


Last week I brought home a bag of Fuyu persimmons from a friend's yard. Once again I forgot that no one in my house likes persimmons. Last year that same mistake resulted in a batch of delicious persimmon spice muffins. This year I was in the mood for bread pudding.


Leftover cornbread makes an excellent foundation for bread pudding, by the way. Cut it into cubes, dry it out in the oven, and soak it in custard just as you would any other bread. It's more dense than challah or brioche, so the final pudding is more chewy than airy, but the flavor is knock-your-socks-off special. Especially when combined with sweet, exotic persimmons.


I'm thinking this persimmon cornbread pudding might just become a regular on Californian Thanksgiving tables. Sorry, squirrels. We're taking back our fruit.



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Persimmon cornbread pudding
Leftover cornbread and crunchy Fuyu persimmons bake up sweet and satisfying in this custard-rich bread pudding. Perfect for Thanksgiving.
Ingredients
  • 1 batch sweet corn bread (from an 8-inch square pan; I use the recipe on the Albers cornmeal box)
  • 4 Fuyu persimmons
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the corn bread into small cubes, about 3/4-inch square. Put the corn bread on a baking sheet and bake until the squares are lightly browned and crisp, about 15 minutes. You don't want them to burn, but you want to try to get them as dry as possible. Remove the corn bread from the oven and raise the temperature to 400 degrees.While the corn bread is toasting, peel the persimmons and cut the flesh into bits about the same size as the corn bread cubes.In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, sugar, cinnamon, salt and vanilla. Add the toasted bread cubes and the diced persimmons and toss well. Let the mixture sit in the bowl, tossing occasionally, about 30 minutes. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Pour in the corn bread mixture, including all the liquid. Bake about 45 minutes, or until the pudding is set and no longer jiggles when you shake the pan.Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. The pudding will be puffed up when it comes out of the oven, but don't be alarmed when it falls - that's normal. Serve warm or at room temperature. Whipped cream would be a lovely accompaniment.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-8 servings

11 comments:

Dan said...

Holy crap that looks good!

I do the same thing here - though we unfortunately do not have a lot of fruit trees because of the climate. One person on my street has a crabapple tree and I struggled with knocking on their door everytime I walked by. In the end, I didn't...and I'm disapointed as none were picked this year - all went to waste. Next year for sure I'll be pounding on their door!

Thanks for sharing!

Cathy @ ShowFoodChef said...

I've said it before, I'll say it again - LOVE LOVE FUYU persimmons. I'm so jealous that you have a neighbor with a generous tree. This looks like a great breakfast to me, do you need my delivery address? :D

Mari @ Mari's Cakes said...

I would love to taste a persimmon. I have read so much about it that I am curious to taste it. The pudding looks delicious,thanks for this unique recipe :)

FamilySpice said...

We have a lemon, lime, pomegranate and avocado tree. I can't describe how much pleasure it gives my husband and I to have these trees just outside our door. We swap with friends who have plum, fig, peach, apple and orange trees. Everything home grown tastes sooooo much better!

Ericka (Nibbles & Feasts) said...

This looks amazing, Erika. Will definitely be making this for our Thanksgiving dinner. I love persimmons!

Monet said...

Wow! I love persimmons but I would never think to incorporate them into something like this. What a beautiful dish! Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I hope you have a lovely end to your week!

Christine said...

I love fuyu persimmons and look forward to this time of year. Found them at my local Trader Joe's last week and purchased 6. Going back today to pick up some more! I don't think they could ever last long enough to cook something with them, I love eating them just as is!

Valentina said...

Yum!! I love it baked in the cast iron skillet. (Same with your potato gratin!)

Erika said...

Yes, my cast-iron skillets got quite a workout last weekend....

Preethi said...

Fall= Fuyu persimons and bread pudding=love. This dish turned out to be a smashing success this Thanksgiving. So I would like to thankyou for your consistently warm and humorous posts and heartwarming recipes!

Erika said...

Preethi - thank you so much for coming back to let me know that you made the dish and liked it. That makes me super happy! Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

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