A recent trip to visit family and friends provided us with the opportunity for a brief stay in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. This was my first visit, and nothing could have prepared me for the majestic beauty that Mother Nature had created. As we walked to the viewing area from our car, I was in awe of what was before me – the size, the beauty, the colours… I had heard of the “Three Sisters” and now here they were before me in all their glorious, natural splendor.
A short drive from the ‘Three Sisters’ we were able to take a lovely walk to Leura Cascades, and beyond. Leura Cascades is a small water fall, so pretty, so peaceful, again nature at its best….
The B&B we had booked, The Studio Cottages, turned out to be perfectly in tune with the natural beauty of this area. Set upon a rocky ridge in beautiful bushland, we looked out into the tree tops and listened to the birds. The owner, Andrew, provided us with delicious provisions from which we could make our own breakfasts, and after a quick trip to a nearby supermarket we had all the makings for our dinner – why eat out when, with little effort, we could prepare our own delicious food and enjoy it in these beautiful surrounds.
A wander through the gardens at The Studio Cottages is a must, with orchids clinging precariously to rocks, lichen Xanthoparmelia.sp. appearing as pretty doilies set out upon rocky surfaces. The occasional flower provided a burst of colour here and there, and hidden away in a corner is the hen house with a very handsome rooster ruling the roost!
On our final morning we chatted to Andrew, the owner, about the idyllic surrounds and the beautiful gardens, and he mentioned that he had grown a persimmon tree from a seed, so we wandered over to take a look at it. One or two fruits were just beginning to ripen and Andrew very kindly plucked two from the tree and gave them to me. I mentioned that I would probably make a steamed pudding when we arrived back at our home, as by then they would have fully ripened.
Whilst I had made steamed persimmon pudding many years ago, I no longer had the recipe. Time to hit the books and the net. Finally, choosing two recipes – a Maggie Beer recipe from her Autumn Harvest book and a Martha Stewart recipe from her website, I copied and printed the recipes. Quite a bit of time was spent considering the ingredients in both recipes before I set about creating a list for my own. Adding new ingredients, changing quantities, etc. because this dessert also needed to include some other ingredients that we had purchased during our travels in Queensland – Naked Ginger from the Buderim Ginger Factory, and two liqueurs purchased from the Castle Glen Store in Montville – Sex in Vineyards, a smooth fortified wine liqueur, and Maidens Dream Crème Liqueur created from whiskey and caramel brandy. In the pudding recipe, I have listed cognac or brandy as an ingredient, but I actually used the Sex in the Vineyards liqueur on this occasion.
Finally, happy with the list of ingredients, quantities, etc, I set to work. The quantity was the perfect amount for six dariole mounds, I couldn’t believe it. As for the finished puddings – they were so light and delicious – a huge success. We enjoyed them with a few strips of Buderim Naked Ginger as a garnish, and a good helping of crème anglaise, to which I had added a splash of Maidens Dream. What a treat, a dish that will always bring back memories of my first trip to the beautiful blue mountains.
- 100 g caster sugar plus extra for dusting the moulds
- 60 g butter melted, plus extra butter to grease the moulds
- 1 large free-range egg
- 25 g pecan nuts chopped
- 100 g gluten free flour blend
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup 125 g persimmon pulp (approx 2 persimmons)
- 50 g sultanas
- 20 ml cognac or brandy
- 10 g uncrystallised ginger
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda dissolved in 1 tbsp warm water
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Mix together the caster sugar, butter, eggs and pecan nuts.
Stir in the flour, cinnamon and salt.
Add the persimmon pulp, sultanas, cognac, ginger, bicarbonate of soda and water mixture, and vanilla bean paste.
Grease six 6.5 cm / 178 ml dariole moulds with the extra butter and with extra caster sugar.
Divide the mixture evenly between the six moulds.
Cover each mould with a square of baking paper, topped with a square of alfoil, pleated up the middle to allow for expansion, and secure with string or an elastic band.
Place a rack in the bottom of a pan that is large enough to hold all six moulds*, then place the covered moulds on the rack.
Add enough boiling water so that it reaches halfway up the side of the moulds, then cover the pan with a lid and bring to the boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and steam the pudding for 2 hours .
Serve the pudding warm with crème anglaise, cream or vanilla ice cream - or all three if you choose.
* I used a pasta pot that has a colander-like insert in it.
Note from the recipe in the book "Maggie Beer's Autumn Harvest":
- "Marg Lehmann gave me this recipe from a friend of hers in the United States. "
- "This recipe is a classic example of one that has been passed on to friends and added to and tweaked along the way - I love all the options given to turn it out successfully."
- "To unmould, turn the mould upside-down on a plate. If the pudding does not drop right out, shake and pound the sides of the mould vigorously, right-side up, then invert again. The next alternative is to leave the pudding inverted on a plat to drop out once it is cool. The last resort is to loosen the pudding with a flat knife; if it breaks it can ususally be reassembled."
- "Using a saucepan or stockpot large enough to old the mould, create a rack on the bottom with jar lids. (longer cooking won't harm it."
Now I either need to find someone with a persimmon tree or plant one!
Until next time…
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