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Unless you're from the southern United States, you've probably never had real persimmon pudding. That's because we're better than you. It's a late summer tradition in many rural communities here in North Carolina. It's generally prepared from wild or native persimmons gathered from the ground as the fruit begin to fall from the tree. If you're lucky enough to have access to persimmons, you should give this recipe a try, because let's be honest: Southern food is awesome.

  • 2 cups persimmon pulp
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted

First you have to pulp the persimmons. This is most easily accomplished with a food mill, but you can do it by hand. Remove all the stems and caps and wash the persimmons. Then mash to a pulp using either a food mill or a potato masher. If you use a potato masher, you'll need to make sure to remove all the large brown seeds, as they're rather unpleasant on the teeth. Mash the pulp until it is about the same consistency as tomato sauce.

Preheat the oven to 300°F, or don't if you're a rebel like me. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with a small amount of your melted butter. Thoroughly mix the persimmon pulp with the eggs, milk and vanilla. Sift all the dry ingredients together into a bowl, then pour the persimmon mixture onto the dry ingredients. Mix the whole thing well, then stir in the remaining melted butter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake it for one hour. For you rebels, don't forget to turn on the oven at this point. Let it cool completely; preferably let it chill in the refrigerator, then cut it into squares.

Then put on your man-bib and dig in. Serve it topped with whipped cream, or even better, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. If possible, eat it in a rural setting.

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