Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Persimmons Bread Pudding

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalProv Food Expert

Persimmons originated in China, where over 2,000 different cultivars were developed. Eventually the tree spread into Korea and Japan. By the middle of the 1800s, the persimmon tree made the journey across the Pacific Ocean to California. The seeds arrived in 1856 with Commodore Perry from Japan, and whole trees were imported to California in 1870. In this recipe I am using the Hachiya type soft to the touch when ripe and astringent, much more suitable for cooking than the Fuyu varietal less astringent and consumed fresh. This type of persimmon also stays fresh for up to three weeks when stored at room temperature. 

Yield Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups persimmon purée

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

3 large eggs

1/4 cup raisins

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

8 cups cubed (1-inch) Portuguese sweet bread available here in New England

1/2 cup walnuts (2 oz), coarsely chopped and toasted

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits

Accompaniment: whipped cream or crème freche                                           

Preparation

Whisk together milk, persimmon purée, brown sugar, eggs, raisins, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl, then stir in bread and let mixture stand at room temperature 15 minutes.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Stir walnuts into bread pudding, then spoon pudding into a buttered shallow 8-inch square (2-quart) glass or ceramic baking dish, spreading evenly. Dot with small dices butter bits. Bake pudding until golden, puffed, and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool to warm in pan on a rack, about 20 minutes.

Bread pudding can be made 1 day ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat, uncovered, in a preheated 350°F oven until warm. 

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well."  Check out the Chef's website and blog. 

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