An old-fashioned steamed pudding may not be your traditional Thanksgiving Day dessert, but it is a tradition on our Thanksgiving table. You will need a pudding mold and persimmons, a beautiful orange fruit that looks like an apple. The persimmons will need to be quite soft, almost overripe to the touch. Persimmons taste like a cross between a peach and an apricot, but they are a little tart. The pudding should be served slightly warm, which makes the hard sauce — one of the best tastes — melt.
To make the pudding, in a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed. Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with the persimmon pulp, brandy, eggs, and baking soda mixture. Stir in the vanilla, spices, walnuts, and raisins and mix on low until the butter comes together, about 5 minutes.
Butter the top and bottom of a 2-quart pudding mold with a lid. Spoon in the mixture. Put the buttered lid on tightly and lock into place. Put the mold in a bigger pot filled with water to come halfway up the side of the mold; cover the pot. It is necessary to have a well-buttered mold and enough water for ample steam for this pudding to come out right. Bring the water to a simmer and let simmer over medium-low heat for about 2 hours. Make sure the water doesn't evaporate; add more hot water if it does. The pudding should be checked with a cake tester. When the tester comes out clean, the pudding is done. Take the mold out of the water and unmold when cool, 1 to 2 hours.
While the pudding is steaming, prepare the hard sauce. Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Beat in the brandy. Chille at least 1 hour. Serve with the warm pudding.
Recipes courtesy of Bridgehampton Weekends by Ellen Wright (William Morrow)