Without a doubt, I have always misunderstood persimmon. It probably comes from my stay in some nice hotel in South East Asia where unripe persimmon were placed in my room as an amenity many years ago. Not knowing what these were and dressed with the same immaculate color as the well known orange, I sliced into the fruit, tried it and was met with this incredible cringe-inducing tannin creating a massive fur-like eating experience: worst feeling ever after biting into aluminum foil! The person who purchased the fruits probably had as much knowledge of the fruit as I did, purchasing astringent persimmon versus the non-astringent kind. Thereon, I have always been a persimmon-skeptical person. But it was not possible that such handsome looking fruit would lead to such a disappointing eating experience.
Seeing them on the shelves of every markets around Christmas, I thought there must be more to the persimmon than meet the eyes. At the market, I have met the two most commercially cultivated crops of persimmon: the Fuyu and the Hachiya. Some were from japan and others from Spain. I didn’t know the difference, so I bought the Fuyu kind from Japan to do some baking test.
My inspiration while seeing the fruit was to bake a persimmon tart with a hint of ginger in a dark chocolate, slightly salted, sable crust.
The inspiration came mostly from the color of the fruit. I pictured in my head that that orange color would contrast very well with chocolate. And it did! After a few trial and error, I was very happy with the method and baking of the tart. Whilst originally I was planning to add cinnamon, star anis, clove, et al. I totally changed my mind after tasting the bear fruit puree. To keep the flavor of the fruit as concentrated as possible, I have just removed the leaf part of the fruit and steamed it whole, without peeling it, for about 1 hour. After that, I placed it in the fridge to cool until the next day. The next day, using my hands, I crushed the fruit to remove the black seeds hidden inside the persimmon, kept the skin and all the flesh and placed it in the blender. A very interesting thing was the natural white jelly formed around the base of the fruit during the cooling, which was the natural pectin, jelling the juices of the fruit. I blended the fruits into a thin puree and strained it; and it looked really nice in texture and color; things were promising. Then I tried it and this is when the light came upon the persimmon in all its splendor: The taste was just spectacular, it tasted like honey!
Change of plan, forget about all the special spices that would just interfere with the beautiful fragrance of the fruit. I would then just add a little bit of ginger powder in the chocolate crust, together with some roasted pecan nuts… and voila! If like me, you are a persimmon skeptic, I strongly suggest you to try this at home:
For the crust:
190 g icing sugar
300 g butter
120 g chopped roasted pecan
2 g salt and half a teaspoon of ginger powder
112 g eggs
460 g cake flour
40 g cocoa powder
For the filling:
400 g Persimmon Puree (prepare the puree as per the above)
115 g white sugar
100 g eggs
Half a teaspoon of salt
- Prepare the dough for the crust, roll the dough not too thin, and blind bake it to 90%.
- Mix the filling ingredients and fill the tart nicely.
- Bake it at 180 C for about 6 to 8 minutes, just to set the filling. (when you shake a little the tart, it should hold like a wobbly mass, rather than liquid)
- Allow cooling at room temperature and enjoy!
If you didn’t know what dessert to do for Christmas dinner or lunch, leave the pumpkin aside and make room for the beautiful persimmon! Happy Christmas!