Ruby Blackburn Lambert's persimmon pudding
Total time: About 1 hour
Servings: Makes 3 puddings, with 6 to 8 servings each
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.
1 cup butter or shortening or butter-flavored Crisco
2 scant cups sugar
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 purée
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
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 3 standard loaf pans or pie dishes.
2. In 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.
3. Bake 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.
4. Serve hot from the oven topped with whipped cream, chopped pecans or -- better yet -- butter pecan ice cream.
Each of 24 servings: 208 calories; 3 grams protein; 30 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 9 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 57 mg. cholesterol; 18 grams sugar; 200 mg. sodium.