Christmas dinner came together without a hitch, and in a rather effortless fashion. Brother Joe and his wife Nancy sent us a "honey baked ham". We tried champagne and sherry with the ham, but with the leftovers on Boxing Day tried this Simply Recipes Honey Mulled Wine which is also recommended.
After our late afternoon Christmas Day dinner, we had John's famous flaming persimmon pudding. His mother used to serve flaming puddings, with decorations of holly and berries. Here is a video of the pudding:
Courtesy of John, here is the persimmon pudding recipe - his adaptation from the "California Heritage Cookbook" by the Pasadena Junior League.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon salad oil
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup milk
1 cup Hachiya persimmons, sieved
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger, no smaller than 1/8" chunks
In a mixing bowl, beat one cup sugar and the oil into the well-beaten egg. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, spices, salt, baking powder and soda. Add this alternately with the milk to the creamed mixture. Mix in the persimmon, vanilla, nuts, and dates. Generously butter and sugar a pudding mold with a hollow center; the sugar coating will slightly caramelize when lit on fire providing a light shell crunch on the exterior.
Bake in the covered mold set in a pan of hot water in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until done. The pudding may be steamed in a water bath on top of the stove for 4 hours, or until done. Unmold onto a serving plate. Use waxed paper between the lid and body of the mold if boiling.
To flame the pudding, warm 1/4 cup brandy, pour over pudding and light. Alternatively, pour 1/4 cup 151 rum over the cake and light (do not warm - read warnings on the label!)
Pudding may be served with a hot lemon sauce, but we prefer it plain.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!