My friends gifted me a few hachiya persimmons a couple months ago.
I looove persimmon trees, especially when all the leaves have fallen off and all that remain are the bright orange fruit hanging off the bare branches. It is one of my favorite Autumnal sights, a fruit laden persimmon tree under a gray sky.
If you’re reading carefully–you’ve noticed I write “I love persimmon _trees_.” Not so much the fruit–even though I am ethnically Korean and that almost obligates me to love persimmons. My parents love the fruit so much they had several persimmon trees in our backyard and because of their overeager urging to eat persimmons, I may have rebelled. I never grew to love the fruit.
Since my friends’ gift, I have learned that it’s fuyu persimmons I don’t like (my parents ate, almost exclusively, fuyu persimmons, which can be eaten when firm). Of course, I learned this the hard way, first biting into the hachiya persimmons when hard.
The tannic, bitter fruit besieged my mouth, my tastebuds–I quickly gargled with water. No dice. There was a sickening coating all over my mouth, a sensation that felt like corduroy jeans, and a taste–bleah.
Hachiya persimmons MUST be eaten when super squishy, when they appear as if they’ll totally fall to pieces, when the fruit is “liquidy.” Then, and only then, are they soooo yummy and sweet and delicious and juicy. I am so buying hachiya persimmons, go forward.
And thankfully, I made this discovery not too far into persimmon season. There are still persimmons left to enjoy! And if you’re still hesitant to eat the fruit while fresh, you can do as I’ve done all these years: use the fruit in baked goods.
Particularly excellent is David Lebovitz’s rendition of James Beard’s persimmon bread recipe. It is entirely fantastic–I made it this morning and now the house is filled with the perfume of baked bread and my tastebuds are so very happy.
Recipe follows after the jump…
Adapted from David Lebovitz
1, 9 inch loaf
1.75 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
1.5 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1.25 cups sugar
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter then cooled to room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1/3 cup cognac, bourbon or whisky (I used bourbon)
1 cup persimmon puree (from about 2 very soft Hachiya persimmons–remove the peel!)
1 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped (I used toasted walnuts–if you don’t feel like chopping you can just roughly halve them by hand)
1 cups raisins/currants, or other dried fruits (I used currants, cranberries and dried apricots–you can use whatever you like–with larger pieces, remember to chop them)
Butter 2 loaf pans. Line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper or dust with flour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine, by sifting, the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Add the butter, eggs, liquor, persimmon puree then the nuts and dried fruit.
Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
I imagine you can make muffins out of these too–bake for a shorter amount of time if you do so.