Savor Cooks: Persimmon

Persimmons are a bright orange fruit that resembles a tomato in shape. They are typically in season during the fall months. There are two varieties of persimmon: fuyu and hachiya.
Fuyu persimmons can be sliced and eaten raw (the outside peel is edible). You can also enjoy them:
• Sliced and tossed into a salad
• Sliced and eaten as a snack with cheese or nut butter
• Grated and stirred into your favorite morning oatmeal or yogurt
• Grated and baked instead of or in addition to your favorite carrot or zucchini bread
• Sliced and roasted alongside other seasonal fall and winter vegetables (persimmons also pair well with roasted chicken and pork dishes)

Hachiya persimmons need to be soft and peeled in order to eat. Hachiya persimmon pulp can be used in baking and beverage recipes. Hachiya persimmons can also be peeled and dried whole using a Japanese technique that takes several weeks of hanging and delicately massaging the fruit. The final dried fruit product is known as hoshigaki.

Below are two recipes using fuyu persimmons to whet your appetite for this unique sweet fruit.


Fuyu Persimmon and Mozzarella Appetizer

Serves 4

Having last minute company? Enjoying a leisurely weekend afternoon? Either way, this appetizer is easy to throw together in a pinch, it looks pretty, and it tastes delicious! Fuyu persimmons are beautiful when thinly sliced into disks and arranged on a platter. And nothing beats quality fresh mozzarella. Use your best olive oil and try to find a syrupy aged balsamic vinegar (the good stuff) if you can. To further brighten up the colors, serve with pomegranate seeds, grapes, Castelvetrano olives, or fresh herbs.

2 medium fuyu persimmons
3-ounces fresh mozzarella
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
a sprinkle of flaky salt and a few grinds of black pepper

toasted bread and toasted nuts, for serving

Trim the stem from the persimmons. Using a mandoline slicer or a sharp knife, slice the persimmons into ¼-inch thick disks.

Slice the mozzarella into ¼- ½ inch thick circles.

Delicately pile the persimmons and mozzarella onto a serving plate or platter. Drizzle the cheese with olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over both the persimmons and the cheese.

Serve with toasted bread and nuts.

Nutrition Analysis (includes the persimmons, mozzarella, olive oil, balsamic, and salt and pepper): Total Calories: 156; Total Fat 8 g; Saturated Fat 3 g; Cholesterol 17 mg; Sodium 281 mg; Carbohydrate 17 g; Dietary Fiber 3 g; Protein: 5 g


Fuyu Persimmon Spice Cake

Serves 9

Recipe adapted from A Sweet Spoonful blog

This spice cake will warm you right up on a chilly day. The cake calls for a whopping 2 tablespoons of ground ginger for a spicy yet soothing flavor. Use whole wheat or spelt flour over all-purpose flour if you are looking to get more fiber in your diet. For extra persimmon flavor, you could grate an additional persimmon and stir it into the cake batter. For an omega-3 fatty acid boost, add ½ cup chopped walnuts to the batter.

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup (not packed) dark or light brown sugar
1 ¾ cup flour (all purpose, whole wheat pastry, or spelt flour all work)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons milk
2 medium fuyu persimmons, cut into ¼-inch thick slices

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch round or square pan with cooking spray or butter. For extra security, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper (cut into a circle or square shape) and grease the parchment.

In a small saucepan, melt together the butter and sugar over low heat, stirring until the mixture melts. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg together. Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and combine with a few strokes of a wooden spoon or rubber spatula (does not need to be completely mixed).

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, yogurt, and milk. Add the egg mixture to the batter and whisk to combine. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Lay the persimmon slices on top of the batter in a circular shape. Bake about 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the cake.

Store, covered, at room temperature.

Nutrition Analysis (for 1 9th of the cake): Total Calories: 298; Total Fat 12 g; Saturated Fat 7 g; Cholesterol 50 mg; Sodium 305 mg; Carbohydrate 45 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Protein: 5 g
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