Persimmons have taken over the fruit market, and don’t let its orange tomatoey appearance fool you. The Fuyu’s crisp, sweet centre and the Hachiya’s velveteen pulp are some of my most favourite November pickings. Like little pots of custard, I halve these fruits and serve them with cream after a meal. Rewarding by themselves, if you haven’t picked them up for fear of trying something new, you’re missing out on the bright, fresh, flavours of fall.
There are two kinds of persimmons available to us in the market right now. The Hachiya persimmon looks a bit like an acorn with a pointy bottom. This one must be had only when it’s very very ripe, else it will be too astringent. The flesh of a Hachiya persimon must yield very easily to touch as an indication that it is ripe enough. When a hachiya persimmon looks like it is about to rot and is super soft, it is perhaps the best time to eat it. I would use this persimmon in cakes, breads, puddings and cookies. Try out this Spiced Persimmon and Ginger loaf cake that I made last year if you have Hachiya persimmons on hand.
Fuyu persimmons are flatter and they will hold their shape as they ripen. These are the persimmons you pick up if you want to use them immediately. If you’re going to be tossing persimmons into a salad, Fuyu is your man. For this recipe (it’s embarrassing to even call it that), I used Fuyu and good quality French-style Brie cheese available locally in Mumbai. The Spotted Cow Fromagerie started by brothers Prateeksh and Agnay Mehra makes Bombrie and Camembay, soft French-style artisanal cheeses that ripen quickly in India’s tropical climate. You can buy their cheese from Foodesto.
I bake the cheese for a few minutes till it’s smooth and melty on the inside, then serve it alongside crusty bread together with wedges of Fuyu persimmon, Lollo Rosso lettuce and a generous sprinkle of pine nuts. Think of this as a new way to involve your guests instead of the boring old cheese platter. Also, keep some sea salt and a pepper grinder handy.
Brie 1 wheel, mine was a wheel of Bombrie from The Spotted Cow Fromagerie and weighed 200g
Fuyu Persimmons 3, sliced into wedges
Lollo Rosso a small bunch, refreshed in ice cold water and roughly torn
Pine Nuts 2-3 tbsp
Honey to drizzle
Bread to serve
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place the wheel of cheese on a lined baking pan and drizzle over some honey. Bake this for 7-8 minutes or until softened. Let it cool for 5 minutes and serve with warm bread, the wedges of persimmon and some greens.