"Persimmon Pudding" courtesy of Tom Douglas, Copyright © by Tom Douglas
... more great recipes by Tom Douglas on our GREAT CHEFS page!
Makes one 9-inch cake, 8 servings
Persimmon pudding--soft, moist, and almost custardy with the spicy sweet flavors of gingerbread and pumpkin pie--is an old fashioned dessert that tastes just right after a hearty fall dinner. There are many recipes for steamed persimmon pudding, but my version is extra easy because it's baked in the oven. I like to top each warm wedge of pudding with a dollop of hard sauce. When my Grandma Fogarty made hard sauce, she always added Jack Daniels whiskey, but I prefer a good slug of fragrant Clear Creek Pear Brandy instead. --Tom Douglas
Note on persimmons: Use Hachiya persimmons for this recipe, not Fuyus. Hachiyas must be completely ripe before using, because otherwise they taste unpleasantly astringent. When completely ripe their skins become translucent and their flesh collapses into a jelly. Persimmons are usually available starting sometime in October, so you can buy them ahead. Often you need to ripen Hachiyas at home, which may take a few days, a few weeks, or even a month. As each one ripens, pop it into a sealable plastic bag and toss it in the freezer. Thaw your persimmons when you want to make this pudding.
To make the persimmon puree, cut the persimmons in half, scrape out the soft flesh with a spoon, and puree the flesh until smooth in a food processor.
1-1/2 cups persimmon puree (from about 4 very ripe Hachiya persimmons, see above note)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus a little more for buttering the pan
2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pear brandy hard sauce (see recipe below), room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Butter a 9-inch cake pan, line it with a circle of parchment paper and butter the paper.
In a large bowl using a whisk, combine the persimmon, butter, buttermilk, eggs, sugars, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool 10 minutes on a rack. The pudding will sink as it cools.
To unmold the cake, run a thin knife around the cake to loosen it. The top surface of the pudding may be sticky when it is hot, so place a piece of lightly buttered wax paper over the cake pan, then cover with an inverted plate or a cardboard circle. Protecting your hands with a kitchen towel, invert the whole thing. The pudding should slide out onto the wax-paper lined plate. Peel off the circle of parchment, then place another inverted plate or cardboard circle over the pudding. Again, invert the whole thing. Remove both the top plate and the piece of wax paper and the pudding will be right side up. The pudding will be very soft with some syrupy liquid collecting on the plate. Allow the pudding to cool about 10 to 15 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve with a dollop of hard sauce on top of each wedge. The hard sauce should start to melt a little as you serve the warm pudding.
A Step Ahead
The pudding can be made up to one day ahead. If you are making the pudding ahead, unmold it onto something that can go into the oven, such as a cardboard circle or the bottom of a springform pan. Allow the pudding to cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and leave at room temperature. Before serving, unwrap the cake and transfer it to a baking sheet. Loosely cover the pudding with foil and reheat in a 350-degree oven until warm, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Pear Brandy Hard Sauce
(Makes about 1 cup)
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons Clear Creek Pear Brandy, or substitute other good quality brandy
In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle, or in a bowl with an electric hand mixer, cream the butter. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Add the brandy and beat until fluffy. Serve at room temperature.
A Step Ahead
The hard sauce can be made several days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before serving.
|Tom's Big Dinners: Big-Time Home Cooking for Family and Friends
Douglas grew up in a big family where his mother and grandmother served big dinners every night of the week. Today, he's one of the country's hottest chefs, known not only for making Pacific Northwest cuisine and wine a centerpiece of American dining but also for hosting sensational big dinner parties at home. With his wife, Jackie Cross, Douglas takes an equally innovative approach to cookbooks, sharing menus and memories in an out-of-this-world collection.
Drawn from special meals with family members, friends, vintners, and fellow restaurant owners, Tom's Big Dinners brings together thirteen of his favorite feasts, with no-nonsense recipes that make it easy to cook like a restaurant chef without ever leaving home.
The menus range in style from the refined Wine Cellar Dinner, with recipes for Goat Cheese Fondue, Vine-Roasted Squab with Syrah Jam, and Chocolate Crêpes, to the relaxing Screen Door Barbecue, featuring Pit-Roasted Pork Spareribs, Down-Home Collard Greens, and Hard Watermelon Lemonade, and the festive Pop Pop's Winter Solstice, starting with Pop Pop's Perfect Martini and Caramelized Fennel Tart, followed by Creamy Seafood Chowder and Parsley Scones.
The Pike Place Market Menu and Puget Sound Crab Feed showcase classic Seattle-style dishes, while Tom's extravagant Chinese Feast incorporates the Asian influence prevalent in Pacific Rim cooking.
In their energetic and warmly inviting book, Tom and Jackie take the hassle out of first-rate entertaining. Suggestions for do-ahead preparation appear in each chapter, along with wine pairings for each course.
A celebration in itself, Tom's Big Dinners brings big-time fun, flavor, and flair to your own dinners.
|Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen
Tom Douglas loves Seattle and Seattle loves Tom Douglas. The owner of and force behind three popular restaurants (Dahlia Lounge, Etta's Seafood, and Palace Kitchen), Douglas has made an in-depth study of Pacific Northwest foodstuffs and culinary influences--basically the man has happily eaten his way through the city for the past 25 years and then, to Seattleites' delight, has applied his knowledge to his restaurants. "With this book, we hope to communicate our experience of Seattle," says Douglas. "We want to share our thriving food scene with you--you can get on a plane and come see us or you can use this book to create your own 'Seattle' in your kitchen."
Douglas focuses on using fresh, in-season ingredients in all his recipes. "My philosophy is: eat it when you've got it, enjoy the harvest when it's here," he says. In Seattle, that means Grilled Asparagus with Hazelnut-Star Anise Mayonnaise in the spring, Sake-Steamed Sockeye Salmon with Sake Butter with Oregon Pinot Noir Raspberry Sorbet on a summer evening, or the year-round favorite, Dungeness crab. Try Crab Salad with Asparagus, Avocado, and Lime Vinaigrette or Wok-Fried Crab with Ginger and Lemongrass. Use Washington State apples in Parsnip-Apple Hash or Maple-Cured Double-Cut Pork Chops with Grilled Apple Rings and Creamy Corn Grits. Douglas offers plenty of savory vegetarian dishes such as Potato Gnocchi with Roasted Tomatoes and Gorgonzola Cream, Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Arugula Salad, and Tuscan Bread Salad with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil (a perennial favorite at the Dahlia Lounge).
Like a walk through the fish and vegetable stalls at Pike Place Market, Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen is fresh, inspiring, and filled with aromatic ideas. His prose is relaxed, colloquial, and encouraging--cook, eat, and enjoy are his basic tenets--and the book is filled with photos of Seattle life and institutions. Whether you live in the Emerald City or the Windy City, Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen will spark your imagination and enliven your palate. --Dana Van Nest
|I Love Crab Cakes! 50 Recipes for an American Classic
Where do you get the best crab cakes? Ask one hundred different people and you'll likely get one hundred different answers. Some swear by classic Chesapeake Bay crab cakes, and some by spicy Creole crab cakes, while others maintain that Pacific Northwest crab cakes can't be beat. In I Love Crab Cakes!, award-winning chef and cookbook author Tom Douglas brings the best of East, West, and Gulf coasts to the table and proves that the most delicious crab cakes of all come straight from your home kitchen.
Tom thoroughly examines every thorny, crab cake–related issue. Bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, panko, or no crumbs at all? What kind of crabmeat: Dungeness, king, or Peeky Toe? Are the best crab cakes pan-fried, deep-fried, or not even cooked?
Tom offers up dozens of his famous crab cake recipes, including classic crab cakes from East and West, North and South, plus newer innovations such as Wild Ginger Crab Cakes, Pesto Risotto Crab Cakes, and Crab Louie Cheesecakes. There are crab cake sandwiches, breakfast crab cakes, and crab cake sauces and salsas.