Autumn brings two luscious varieties of persimmons to the marketplace. One, the Hachiya, is heart-shaped and a vivid orange. It needs to be fully ripe with a water balloon-like consistency to be delectable. Underripe, it is unpleasantly astringent. The Fuyu variety is tomato-shaped and is a lighter orange color; it can be enjoyed when apple-like firm or slightly softened. Both varieties are generally available from October to December.
When using Hachiya persimmons, don’t be fooled by their color. The skin of these heart-shaped beauties is the same vivid orange even when unripe. Touch them; they should feel very, very soft. Cut off the top and their pulp can be scooped from the skin like jam from a cup.
They are seldom sold ripe because they are super-soft and fragile. Ripen them at home at room temperature. You can hasten the process by placing them in a loosely sealed paper bag with another fruit, like a banana. When ripe, store at room temperature up to three days, or refrigerate in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer up to six days.
The pulp can be frozen, wrapped airtight, up to three months. Incorporate pulp into jam, cookies, sorbet, puddings, quick bread or muffins.
Tomato-shaped Fuyu persimmons, can be eaten when they are firm or slightly soft. Look for fruit with green (not brown) leaves. Skin should be a consistent light orange color, not yellow or green. Store at room temperature up to seven days or refrigerate in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer up to 12 days.
Peel and eat fresh out of hand like an apple. Or cut into medium dice or wedges for mixed green salads or other cold dishes such as a grain-based salad, wraps or fruit salad. Cut them into crosswise slices and they show off a flower-like pattern. Use them instead of crackers to accompany cheese. Or wrap prosciutto around sliced persimmon wedges for an easy appetizer.
Cakey Hachiya Persimmon Puddings
Cakey Hachiya Persimmon Pudding features many of the likable elements of fruitcake. (Photo by Nick Koon)
This dessert showcases the likable elements of fruitcake without the components that many find objectionable. The underlying sweetness of the persimmon shines through, augmented by the taste and texture of nuts, raisins and chopped dried apricots. If you like, you can substitute dried cherries or dried cranberries for the raisins.
Serves about 10
Nonstick vegetable spray
½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups persimmon pulp, from 3 to 4 very ripe Hachiya persimmons, mashed with a fork if too chunky
¾ cup finely chopped dried apricots
¾ cup raisins
¼ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup chopped pecans
Sweetened whipped cream, garnish
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray 10 souffle cups (about 3/4-cup each) with nonstick vegetable spray.
Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until well-blended.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; stir with whisk until …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment