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Desserts

Ruby Blackburn Lambert's persimmon pudding

Ruby Blackburn Lambert's persimmon pudding
Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Food brings people together, just as much as a lack of it can tear them apart. What we cook, how we cook it and when we eat it says as much about ourselves as our body language and our choice ... Read more

Total time: About 1 hour | Makes 3 puddings, with 6 to 8 servings each
  • 1 cup butter or shortening or butter-flavored Crisco
  • 2 scant cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 quart ripe Hachiya persimmons (about 6 fruits), hulled and put through a food mill or ricer to remove seeds to make about 2 cups puree
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups (8.5 ounces) flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fine breadcrumbs
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Whipped cream, chopped pecans, ice cream or other toppings, for garnish

Step 1Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 3 standard loaf pans or pie dishes.

Step 2In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, then the persimmons and milk. Beat in the flour, baking powder, salt, breadcrumbs and cinnamon. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared dishes.

Step 3Bake the puddings until each has puffed, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes; rotate each pudding halfway through baking for even coloring. (Pudding baked in a pie plate will take less time to bake because of the increased surface area.) The puddings will settle as they cool.

Step 4Serve hot from the oven topped with whipped cream, chopped pecans or -- better yet -- butter pecan ice cream.

Note: Cornelia Lambert called the "Hidden Kitchens" hotline to share how her grandmother, Ruby, turned her legendary cooking into a local fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity. Ruby grew up in the early 1900s at the foot of the mountain in Carroll County in southern Virginia, where her parents had a huge vegetable garden and grew everything they ate. During the Depression, Ruby's family moved to the town of Mt. Airy, N.C., where they settled on the land where the family still lives. Mt. Airy was the inspiration for the town of Mayberry in "The Andy Griffith Show." Ruby later married Fred Lambert, who was, in fact, a very distant cousin of Andy Griffith's.

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