Friday, December 8, 2006

Low-Fat Low-Sugar Persimmon Rice Pudding

I've got two long rows of persimmons sitting on my kitchen divider, looking for all the world like bright Christmas ornaments. My sister Cynthia brought these to me at Thanksgiving from her home in Chico and they're rapidly getting ripe so it's time to use them, freeze them, and get a few recipes posted.

Today I wanted to make something low in sugar and fat while at the same time being utterly delicious, warm and comforting. A persimmon rice pudding fit the bill on all those counts, especially when I used Uncle Ben's Converted Rice which is low on the glycemic index. Freshly grated nutmeg and whole cinnamon stick enhanced the persimmon puree and gave the dish a homey touch. Please forgive some of my photos, it's a hard job photographing an off-white then orange pudding under range hood lights.

Low-Fat, Low-Sugar Persimmon Rice Pudding
very loosely adapted from a recipe on Epicurious

2 large, very ripe Hachiya persimmons *
3 1/2 cups Land O Lakes Fat Free 1/2 & 1/2 **
1 cup Uncle Ben's Converted Rice
1/4 cup (scant) Splenda granular
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 3-inch piece of cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (no added sugar or corn syrup)

Your persimmons should be very soft all over, almost like liquid in a skin.
Cupping the bottom of the persimmon in your hand, cut around the stem with a sharp knife and extract the core.
Using a grapefruit spoon, gently separate the pulp from the skin and place the pulp in a food processor, removing seeds if present. This can be messy work, but you get to lick your fingers which is a good thing.
Process until pureed. Measure 1 cup puree and set aside, although a little more than 1 cup certainly won't hurt the recipe.
Combine the 1/2 and 1/2, rice, Splenda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a medium sauce pan and stir to blend.
Set over medium heat and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally.
Simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid has thickened to a pudding-like consistency, about 45 minutes.
As the pudding thickens, watch it closely, stirring often, to avoid it burning.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and gently stir in the persimmon puree until it is fully incorporated.
This pudding may be served warm, at room temperature or cold from the fridge. Grate a little nutmeg over the top of each serving if you wish. This pudding will thicken further when cold. Cover with plastic wrap to refrigerate.
Cook's Notes:
* While this recipe is certainly very low in fat and has little added sugar (see note below), it should be noted that persimmons are very high in natural sugars. Dieters wishing to restrict their intake of any kind of sugar should be aware of this. On the plus side, they are also very high in fiber; a 2 1/2-inch diameter raw persimmon containing about 6 grams.
** Land O Lakes Fat Free 1/2 and 1/2 is not a low carb product. It has more sugar carbs than whole milk. I used it here because I opted for less fat over less sugar. If you don't need to restrict your fat intake, use whole milk in this recipe instead.
Both of the spices, nutmeg and cinnamon, that I used in my persimmon rice pudding are popular in the US, especially around the holidays. In fact, adding pieces of nutmeg, cinnamon stick, whole cloves, allspice berries and whole star anise to a small saucepan of water, simmered on the back of the stove, is my recipe for a house warmly scented with spicy notes in winter time and is a much less expensive and more organic potpourri than many storebought products. Read what Wikipedia has to say about Nutmeg and Cinnamon.

This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging , being hosted this week by Pookah at What's Cooking in Carolina. To find out more about this popular weekly event and how to join in the fun, click here.


  1. That is a tough photo - white and orange.
    The persimmons in the blue bowl is a stunner though!! I like this idea very much.
    And I like the spice pan on the stove top!

  2. That is a tough photo - white and orange.
    The persimmons in the blue bowl is a stunner though!! I like this idea very much.
    And I like the spice pan on the stove top!

  3. I've never had persimmons before. This is a great recipe for me to try! Thanks!


  4. Ditto to the previous comment--I've never known what to do with a persimmon. Now I do! Can't wait...
    Thanks, Christine
    Shane Marie

  5. I'm not sure if I've seen persimmons in local supermarkets, but now I have another reason to look. Lovely, lovely post, Christine. I like the "very loosely adopted" bit!

  6. what patience to cook and take photos Christine, how do you keep the camera clean??!

  7. This sounds great! I have never used persimmons in cooking. Must try out recipes using them when they are in season here in Melbourne!

  8. great idea. i love sweet rice dishes and this looks really interesting. i just need to wait until autumn hits australia and then get my hands on a persimmon.

  9. A very good combination and I will have to try this! I love rice anything!

  10. Love that Uncle Ben's Rice! I've never had persimmons either. The photo with the blue bowl is beautiful.

  11. To all of you wonderful commenters:
    I'm sorry that I've been so busy that I've not answered each of your comments. I can see, however, that I'm going to have to educate a few of you on how to use persimmons in cooking.
    Close your eyes and envision:
    persimmon flan
    persimmon cookies
    persimmon puddings
    persimmon bread
    All coming this winter!

  12. I love persimmons and rice pudding, so when I bumped into this recipe, I knew I had to try it. I made it today with some substitutions: used soy milk instead of the cream, and sugar and maple syrup instead of the Splenda. The result is good, though I find it too moist. I like rice pudding very sticky and this is quite runny (it has now cooled down). Hopefully it will thicken more by tomorrow.

  13. Hello Maija, Thank you for taking the time to comment. When I made this recipe, my pudding was a bit runny also but thickened up with refrigeration overnight. I hope that works for you as well. If not, I would suggest (when you make it again) that you use a bit less milk.
    I love it when a person makes one of my recipes and then tells me about it - even when it doesn't turn out perfectly! So thanks again.


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