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Cray cray for persimmon fruit!

 

I’ve found myself obsessing over the unique beauty of persimmons as they come into season in the Australian winter.

They are a strange fruit and I really never knew what to do with them, apart from eating them raw. The crunchy Fuyu variety’s taste and texture is similar to a tomato, blended with a sweet date, with the crunch of melon, that’s if you can imagine this strange combination. They are firmer and more round in shape than the Hachiya acorn shape variety, and when cut in half, have a beautiful star pattern that looks fantastic sliced raw in to a salad.

With my newfound curiosity of this very unique fruit, it got me thinking about how to cook with them.

They can be roasted for a sweet or savoury dish, eaten raw in salads, poached for desserts or breakfasts and used with meats like pork or chicken, like an apple or apricot would. I even tried cooking them as sweet chips in the oven!

They match well with winter spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and clove and taste lusciously rich with savoury spices like turmeric, coriander seeds and cumin.

I’ve shared a few of my favourite persimmon recipes below, that use this wonderful fruit as a hero to a dish on Maxwell & Williams latest Caviar collection of modern dinner sets, and beautiful dark matte pewter cutlery. These unique plates and dishes have a texture similar to the look of well-loved cast iron, but are ceramic and highlight the colourful fruit.

https://www.maxwellandwilliams.com.au/collections/caviar

Grilled persimmons with rose cardamom Syrup.

  • 2 persimmons
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla pod
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Lemon zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 cup yogurt (or coconut yogurt)
Rose and Cardamom Syrup:
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 tablespoons rose water
  • 3 tablespoon of honey (add more depending on your sweet tooth)
  • Juice 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup water
To serve:
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pistachio nuts
  • Dried rose petals
  • 1 tablespoon almond flakes
  • Honey comb

 

Instructions: Rose and Cardamom Syrup

Place the cardamom pods, honey, lemon juice and water into a small saucepan and put on medium heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes with the lid off. Once the sugars in the honey have dissolved and become slightly thicker and the cardamom has flavoured the Syrup, take it off the heat and allow the syrup to cool down before adding the rose water. Set the syrup aside while the persimmons are grilling.

Instructions: Grilled Persimmons

Heat up a grill skillet to medium heat. Slice the persimmon on a mandolin to est 3-5 millimeter thick (if they are too thin they easily break up on the grill). Brush on a little bit of vegetable oil on the grill and place the persimmons on till they create char marks on one side, The persimmons should be caramelised but not completely soft that they start to fall apart and stick to the grill.

While the slices are on the grill: place the vanilla powder, lemon juice, lemon zest and the honey in a bowl, stir until the honey has dissolved. Place the grilled persimmons in the bowl to coat both sides while they are still hot.

Serve:

Serve the grilled persimmons along side yogurt with the chopped pistachios and almond flakes. Drizzle on the rose and cardamom syrup and top with a sprinkle of rose petals and honeycomb.

Farro and baby kale salad, with fresh Persimmon slices.

Salad:

  • 1 large persimmon
  • 50g baby kale
  • 50g watercress
  • 1 cup roasted farro
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoon Olive oil
  • Juice of 1 orange (or lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Serve:

  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • Goats chèvre
  • Small handful of Pepitas
  • Micro herbs
Instructions:

Add the roasted farro, water, salt and olive oil to a medium saucepan and cover with a lid on medium heat. Bring to the boil then turn the temperature down to simmer for 40-45 minutes. Once the grains are cooked through allow them to cool down before adding to the salad.

To make the dressing: add all the ingredients to a small jar and shake to mix.

In a large salad bowl toss together the cooled down farro grains, baby kale, watercress, and the dressing. Mean while thinly slice the persimmon using a mandolin and arrange on a plate. Serve with the farro and greens salad, topped with the chopped walnuts, pepitas and goat cheese.

Persimmon and chicken Tagine with almonds.

This full-flavoured dish makes my taste buds sing, even as I’m writing this recipe. It’s a wonderful combination of rich winter spices, sweet caramelised persimmon’s, the crunchy texture of the almonds and the fresh herbs that make this dish a fantastic fusion.

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 2 medium size persimmons
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 mid brown onion
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ cups of warm chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup flaked almonds
  • 1 handful of cropped coriander and dill to serve.

 

Instructions:

Place the Cumin and coriander seeds into a skillet to dry roast for a few minutes on a medium heat (shake the pan to prevent the seeds from burning). Once the seeds start to make a popping noise take them off the heat and place them into a mortar and pestle, allow to cool down before pounding them down.

Sauté the onions and garlic on medium heat in the same skillet just used for the spices with a little olive oil. Once they are golden add the cumin and coriander back in and stir to combine. Place the onion mix in to a deep ceramic Tagine or if you don’t have one a deep dish with a lid also works well.

Add the chicken thighs to the same well-oiled skillet butter flied out, skin side down. Searing for 5 minutes, then flipping the thighs over to the other side for another few minutes. The chicken will not be cooked through, only browned on each side. Take the thighs off the skillet and cut them in half, if they are really large cut them into 4 pieces.

Meanwhile slice the persimmons up into segments like you would with a tomato and place ½ of them in the pot over the onion mix, and then place the chicken on top skin side up and the remainder of the persimmons and cinnamon sticks on top of that.

Add the ground turmeric and the cinnamon to the warm stock and stir, once it is mixed, pour the mixture over the chicken in the pot. Place the lid on and put it in the oven for 1 ½ hours on 180˚C.30 minutes before its ready add half of the flaked almonds in and put it back in the oven.

To serve; sprinkle over the remainder of the almonds and a handful of freshly chopped coriander and dill.

Serve with rice or couscous; to accompany this dish I made a red rice and chickpea pilaf with fried onions on top for a little crunchy texture.

Gluten free turmeric and coconut porridge, with vanilla and cinnamon poached persimmon.

This recipe is a modern take on the traditional sole warming classic porridge. The Quinoa flakes make a lighter porridge and the mashed banana and coconut added while cooking give off a lovely tropical aroma and taste. While it’s cooking add your favourite nuts or flax-seed mix for added crunch and nuttiness!

Gluten free porridge:

  • 1 cup Quinoa flakes
  • ¼ cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 banana mashed
  • 2 cups Almond milk (or cow milk)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Honey to taste
Poached persimmons:
  • 2 persimmons
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Serve:
  • 1 tablespoon of pistachio nuts
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flakes or shredded coconut.

 

Poached persimmon instructions:

To make the poached persimmons: cut them into segments just like a tomato; place them into a small saucepan on medium heat along with the lemon juice, water, spices and the vanilla bean pod seeds scrapped from the pod; Add the pod in as well and place the lid on the pot slightly ajar.

Once its come to a shimmer after 5 minutes, turn down the heat to a slow simmer. Add a little dash of extra water if there is not too much liquid coming out of the fruit. After 20 minutes, the fruit should be soft and cooked through. Take it off the heat and allow cooling down before serving.

Porridge instructions:

Add the quinoa flakes, desiccated coconut, turmeric and almond milk to a saucepan on medium heat for a few minutes. Once its come to the boil turn the heat down to a shimmer and add the mashed banana, stir constantly until it becomes thickened and you get a lovely cooked banana and coconut aroma. Add honey to taste if you prefer a sweet porridge, the banana does make it sweet though.

Take it off the heat and serve with the poached persimmon, pistachio nuts, coconut flakes and a drizzle of the poaching liquid.

Dairy free spiced persimmon cake with dried persimmon flowers.

Cake:
  • 1 2/3 cups plain all purpose flour
  • ½ cup ground almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cup persimmon puree
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
Persimmon puree: (makes 1 ½ cups )
  • 3 persimmons
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 4 whole cloves
Icing:
  • ½ cup pure icing sugar
  • Boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground clove
Dried persimmon flowers:
  • 1 thinly sliced persimmon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • Juice of ½ lemon

 

Instructions:

Peel 3 of the persimmons, dice and place in a small saucepan on low heat. Add the cardamom pods and cloves and place a lid on to simmer for 15 min, keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Once the fruit has stewed down, let it cool down and spoon out the pods and cloves. Place the stewed fruit into a food processor and blitz until the consistently is smooth, it should make 1 ½ cups, if it doesn’t top it up with a little orange juice.

To make the persimmon flowers:

Pre heat the oven to 150˚c.

In a bowl add the lemon juice, honey, cinnamon and vanilla powder. Thinly slice the persimmon on a Madeline and coat them in the mixture.

Place a sheet of grease proof paper on a large flat baking dish and arrange the persimmon spices on the tray, bake for 30 mins and keep an eye on them to prevent them browning and burning. After 25mins take them out of the oven and carefully pick each slice up with a spectacular, they should be a little sticky and pliable. Pinch them in your fingers to create a little flower rosette rather than being flat slices, using silicon cup cake molds, place the flowers into the molds and place back in the oven for a further 10 mins. If you leave them in the oven for too long they will end up becoming crunchy like a sweet chip!

Let them cool down before placing them on the cake.

To make the cake:

Pre heat the oven to 180˚C.

Lightly grease and flower a bunt tin. I used a slightly smaller bunt tin, as most bunt tins tend to be really large.

In a large bowl, sift in the flour and add in all of the dry ingredients except the cream of tartar, mix and set aside.

In another bowl add the olive oil, sugar, lemon juice and cooled down persimmon puree, whisk till well combined and the sugar has dissolved. Gradually add in the beaten eggs, stirring until they are combined. Add the wet mix to the dry mix gently stirring. Place the cake batter in the prepared cake tin and bake for 40-50mins. Check the cake at 40 mins with a skewer to see if the skewer comes out cleanly.

Once its cooked let it cool down on a cooling rack for 10 mins before flipping the tin over and removing the cake onto the rack.

To make the spice icing:

Sift the pure icing sugar into a small bowl to take out any lumps so the consistency is smooth. Stir in the spices then add a little hot water at a time until the texture is fluid and silky but not to runny, if it’s a little firm add a little more hot water. You want the icing to be able to drizzle down the edge of the cake, but not go so fast that you end up with all the icing on the serving dish instead.

To serve:

Drizzle on the icing around the top of the cake, decorate with the persimmon flowers and serve with a dollop of yogurt.