Another reader also named Suzanne, remarks:
That persimmon pudding batter was such a lovely orange color! The after steaming it was nearly black! You mentioned that baking soda ruins the color of persimmon, yet your recipe calls for it. Is there any way to make persimmon pudding whill still keeping that nice orange tint?
I’m honestly not sure, Suzanne, since I’ve never tried it. My feeling is that yes, if you were to use baking powder as a leavener instead of soda you’d probably preserve the orange color. One nice thing about using soda, however, is that even though it darkens the pudding (sugar caramelization is also responsible for some of it), it helps to neutralize any astringency that still might be present in the persimmon flesh, mellowing and sweetening it (salt accomplishes much the same thing, but who wants a salty persimmon pudding?). I myself don’t miss the orange color. I like a dark-colored pudding.