What Are Persimmons?
Persimmons brighten the winter table. These colorful and delicious fruits resemble tomatoes in shape and size. Persimmons are native to the warm climates of China and Japan and were first brought to California over 100 years ago. They are no longer just a curiosity but popular, because they are truly delicious. Persimmons come in two varieties: Fuyu, which is short and flat and Hachiya, which are sweeter, larger and a slightly elongated fruit that tapers. Both varieties need to be squishy-soft in order to be edible, to get rid of the astringent taste. They are firm when they first purchased, so let them ripen on kitchen counter which will get rid of the astringent taste. You can speed up this process by putting persimmons in a container or a paper bag, together with an apple, which gives off a lot of ethylene gas. Once soft, they can be eaten as a snack, added to salads, added to meat and cheese boards, or the flesh can be scooped out to make a persimmon sauce for use with roasted poultry or pork. Because of their orange color, persimmons are high in vitamin A and also rich in Vitamin C, B6, E and K, magnesium, potassium and copper. They have twice as much fiber as an apple. They are high in antioxidant retinoid, lycopene, beta-carotene, lutein which are critical for healthy eyes.
Native Missouri Persimmon
Native American have long appreciated Missouri persimmons, (Diospyros Virginiana). They are said to be the Missouri’s best fruit. As the weather starts to cool and the trees begin to lose their leaves a careful observer notices bright orange orbs on bare branches. The easiest way to harvest persimmons it to pick the ripened once from the ground, just like one would olives. Persimmons can be found from the Ozarks to the Appalachian mountains. They are much smaller than their Asian counterparts, but when ripe they are just as sweet, fragrant and delicious, if one is patient enough to pick the seeds out of them. The persimmons tree’s wood is highly prized and used to make high end golf clubs and musical instruments.
The native Missouri persimmon’s bright orange fruits are easily visible on the tree.
Missouri persimmons are much smaller than their Asian cousins.
Persimmons need to be squishy-soft before edible, to get rid of the astringent taste.
Persimmon pudding is easy to make and enhances the sweet and fragrant taste of persimmons
2 cups soft persimmon flash
2 cups coconut milk
4 Tbsp soft butter
2 cups flower
½ cup vanilla sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
Get all of your ingredients ready
Using a stand mixer, (or by hand) mix sugar and butter until creamy. Add eggs.
Add persimmon pulp, baking soda, sugar and eggs. Mix well. Add flour, baking powder, and spices. Stir to combine. Do not overmix.
Grease the bottom of the pan and gently dust with flower so the pudding can be easily removed after baking. Do not butter up the sides of the baking pan or the pudding will not raise. Butter only the bottom of the baking pan. Preheat oven to 325F.
Fill the pan with pudding batter. Bake for 55 minutes. The pudding will rise during baking.
Do not open the oven during the first 30 minutes of baking, as the cake may deflate or not be able to rise due to temperature drop. Toward the end of baking, check for doneness with a tester or a skewer. The inside should be moist or should not feel runny. It should not be as firm as a cake and the texture should stay “gooey”. At this stage my pudding still looked like it may be too runny so I cooked it 10 minutes longer. To prevent over-browning, I covered it with a foil.
When the pudding cools a little (it will deflates a little during cooling), run a knife along the edges of the pan for better removal.
To keep the pudding fresh for the next day, cover the baking pen tightly with wrap.
Call Number DVD 641.5 BEST AMERICAS D.1-3
Cheryl Day’s treasury of Southern baking by Cheryl Day.
Publication Date 2021
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