I find it incredibly gratifying as a homemaker that I can simply walk down to my local (and now quite savvy) fruit vendor and he knows just what to surprise me with season after season. A box of luscious strawberries gets snatched up quickly, small oranges I take delight in peeling and popping before I’ve paid for them, and then there are the persimmons. If you’ve never tried one, or even seen one, they look like bright orange, and rather large off-the-vine tomatoes. Called the amarphal or fruit of immortality, the fruit continues to ripen even after it has been separated from its plant. The ripe persimmon flesh tastes very sweet and almost caramel-y, which makes it great to simply spoon out and eat once the skin is peeled off. Over the years there’s been a steady increase in the number of persimmons we see in the market, and if my last excursion to Crawford is anything to go by, these vibrant beauties have already achieved crowning glory in several fruit baskets.
Now, there are two crucial things you need to know about the persimmons we see in the market- the flat squat persimmons are the Fuyu variety and the longer ones with tapering ends are the Hachiya persimmons. While Fuyu persimmons can be consumed when they are still in the ripening process, the Hachiya only loses its astringent nature when fully ripened. I will never forget how quickly my throat seized up the first time I tried the unripe variety. Though, if you happen to pick up unripe persimmons, don’t worry, just keep these together with bananas and apples in a fruit basket and they should be ready to consume within a day or two, if you’re lucky. Hachiyas are my personal favourites because the amber gloopy flesh it yields is glorious to spoon into your breakfast bowl with oats or blitzed to a shake. To say that this was the extent of my crazy experiments with persimmon would be utterly false. I folded persimmon pulp into cake batters, whisked into custard and even put it on a cheeseboard. You can find the recipe for that here. Finally, If you need a loaf cake to put on the table during the 12 days of Christmas, let it be this one.
Persimmon And Ginger Loaf With Cream Cheese Frosting
Adding baking soda to the Hachiya persimmon pulp turns it into little bits of jelly when baked. This ensures that every bite has chunks of persimmon deliciousness to it once baked.
Persimmon pulp from a ripe and very soft Hachiya persimmon 1/2 cup
Baking soda 1 teaspoon
Brown sugar 1 cup
Vegetable oil 1/2 cup
Eggs 2 medium-sized
Cinnamon 1 teaspoon, ground
Nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground
Ground ginger powder 1/2 teaspoon
Fresh ginger 1 1/2 teaspoon finely grated (feel free to use a combination of candied ginger syrup and fresh ginger)
All-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups
Salt 3/4 teaspoon
For The Frosting
Cream cheese 100g
Butter 4 tbsp
Icing sugar 1/2 cup
Vanilla essence 1/2 tsp
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius and line and grease a 9-inch loaf tin.
In a bowl, whisk together the persimmon pulp together with the baking soda and let it stand till you move on with making the wet mixture.
In a much larger bowl, add the brown sugar, oil, crack in the eggs and top with the spices. Whisk together till combined. Add the now thickened persimmon pup to this mixture and whisk again. You want a few of the persimmon chunks to be whole so don't overmix.
Whisk together the flour and salt and gradually add the wet mixture to this dry mixture. Then, using a spatula fold and incorporate all the flour till you can’t see any streraks of the flour peeking out.
Pour this batter into the loaf tin and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Let it cool completely in the tin, then invert onto a rack.
For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter till smooth taking care to not overmix. Then sift in the icing sugar in parts and beat till combined. To finish, add a dash of vanilla essence. Spread this over the loaf using an offset spatula and serve.