Yesterday a reader emailed me to ask about my favorite things to do with ripe persimmons. This post is for her and for anyone who loves the beautiful fruit that hang like brilliant winter jewels from bare trees. It is one of my favorite sights of the season, especially early on a gray morning when the landscape is blanketed in fog and the only splash of color is the persimmon itself.

Hachiya Persimmons are almost heart-shaped, with broad shoulders and narrow tip

Don't let the name "Pudding" fool you. Steamed Persimmon Pudding has a cake-like texture.

I loved Steamed Persimmon Pudding; it is by far my favorite way to enjoy this fruit. It is easy to make and does not call for any unusual ingredients, unless you consider persimmons themselves unusual.

If you’ve never had it, let me explain. It is not what is generally thought of as pudding in this country; it’s not a variation on chocolate or butterscotch pudding, for example. It is a cousin of English Plum Pudding, a Christmas tradition, but is so much better. It has a cake-like texture.

A fully ripe persimmon almost turns itself into a puree.

And if you think of it as a holiday dessert, no problem. This is only the sixth day of Christmas. There are six more to go and then, the day after Twelfth Night, it’s Russian Christmas. There is plenty of time to glean some ripe Hachiya persimmons and enjoy one of the most delightful winter desserts in the world.

You’ll find the recipe here, in a Seasonal Pantry column from 2006.