photographs by Matt Hulsman

Persimmon Pudding
Yield: 6 servings.

3 egg whites
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for serving
3 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups persimmon pulp
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk
Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare 6 (8-ounce) ramekins with cooking spray. Using an electric hand mixer, beat egg whites to a stiff peak. Set aside in refrigerator.

In a small mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, allspice, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs. Using a hand mixer on medium-high speed, add sugar and persimmon pulp to the eggs. Mix for 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add melted butter and continue mixing for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla.

Turn mixer to low speed and add flour mixture alternating with milk. Mix well. Fold in egg whites.

Pour batter into ramekins, filling almost to the tops, and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until edges pull away from the sides and centers are just firm. Pudding will fall slightly after being removed from the oven. Serve with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.

 


Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Candied Bacon
Yield: 6 servings.

For the candied bacon:
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 pound thick-cut bacon

For the bread pudding:
2 cups whole buttermilk
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
⅓ cup orange juice
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons molasses
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange zest
½ teaspoon salt
6 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (15-ounce) can sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
1 (1-pound) loaf day-old French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

For the candied bacon: Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, vinegar, and maple syrup.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place bacon slices on cooling rack set over the lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, turn slices, and bake another 10 minutes.

Remove bacon and brush both sides with brown sugar mixture. Return bacon to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. Repeat basting every 5 minutes until bacon is browned and crisp.

Remove bacon from oven and coarsely chop. Set aside.

For the bread pudding: Spray a shallow 2½-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, brown sugar, orange juice, melted butter, molasses, spices, zest, salt, eggs, vanilla, and mashed sweet potatoes until combined. Stir in bread. Pour mixture into prepared dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, and sprinkle candied bacon evenly over the top. Bake until bread pudding is lightly browned around edges and set in the middle, approximately 15 to 20 minutes more.


Butterscotch Pudding Pie
Yield: 8 servings.

For the crust:
1 sleeve salted saltines
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 stick butter + ¼ stick, melted
(10 ounces total)
¼ cup light corn syrup

For the pie filling:
1½ cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons cornstarch
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream
2 (1.4-ounce) Heath candy bars, coarsely chopped

For the pie crust: Preheat oven to 350°. Break up crackers and place into a food processor. Add salt. Pulse 10 to 15 times. Add melted butter and corn syrup, and pulse 10 to 15 more times. The crumbly pieces should be the size of uncooked oatmeal.

Pour mixture into a 9-inch nonstick pie plate and spread evenly. Press the mixture firmly into the pan and up the sides. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until golden brown. Let crust cool before adding pie filling.

For the pie filling: Whisk together the whole milk and heavy cream. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a medium, heavy saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, water, and salt over medium heat. Allow mixture to cook and bubble until it turns a darker brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Do not stir! If using a candy thermometer, mixture should be 240°.

Carefully whisk in the milk mixture. Cook over medium heat until boiling. Once boiling, remove ½ cup of the mixture into a bowl and slowly whisk in the egg yolks. Do not let eggs scramble. Slowly add the egg mixture to the pot while whisking.

Turn the heat down to low. The pudding will immediately begin to bubble and thicken. Whisk and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until completely smooth, then add the vanilla.

Cool for 5 minutes, then pour into pie shell. Cover tightly with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding (to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate overnight or until chilled and thickened.

Top with whipped cream and chopped Heath bars.


Liver Pudding
Yield: 4 pounds.

1 pound pork liver
½ pound pork fat
1 pound ground pork
¼ onion, chopped
2 quarts cold water
4 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons ground black pepper
¾ cup chopped sage
4 cups cornmeal

Cut pork liver and pork fat into ½-inch cubes. Add the ground pork, pork liver, pork fat, and chopped onion to a heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven. Add 2 quarts of cold water to pot. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 2½ to 3 hours or until fat has rendered.

Remove meat from pot and reserve cooking liquid.

Add cooked meat, in batches, to a food processor and return it to the pot of cooking liquid.

Add salt, pepper, and sage, and let the mixture come to a boil. When the water boils, gradually add the cornmeal, stirring until mixture thickens. Pour the mixture into loaf pans and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Cover pans with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, slice block of liver pudding to desired thickness. Melt butter in a cast iron skillet and sauté slices until browned and crisp, cooking 1 to 2 minutes per side.

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Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.

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