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Before I start to talk about persimmons, I’d like to first eulogize the beautiful Apple Bavarian Torte (bottom of post) that I made the other day for a small, informal high school reunion. I’d been exhausted and feeling under the weather that day. I really probably should have taken a nap beforehand but I wanted to make this torte for my friends so I did that instead. I brought it to the party but was so spaced out that instead of waiting to put it on the counter, I released the springform pan in mid-air and watched that delicious torte fall face down onto the floor. Alas, it was not as beautiful afterwards.

Credit: James Li

It was the first time I’d ever done something like that and it haunted me in my sleep that night. Seriously.

Anyhow, back to persimmons. Persimmons and I go a long way back with deep and rich history. Growing up in southern California we’d go persimmon-picking every fall, kind of like the way strawberry picking in late winter/early spring is a tradition here in Florida (albeit, a tradition our family never picked up on). I remember going with lots of other families up to the mountains and spending the day playing in the orchards, eating persimmons right off the tree and having picnics. Sometimes we’d also go to the Viejas Reservation afterwards, where we’d go shopping in the outlets and sometimes our parents would also drop by the casino.

Back then, and presumably still now, persimmons in southern California were a dime a dozen, kind of like oranges in Florida, peaches in Georgia or cashews in Trinidad & Tobago. I remember the first time seeing persimmons in Florida and it was more than $2/lb. And that was when they even had them. It was like, woah. We were like lovers cruelly separated. When I temporarily moved to southern California again last year, it was like a love reignited.

Despite this deep connection with persimmons, I’ve never baked with persimmons or even thought about it. Something about not eating it as is seemed unnatural. It was almost sacrilegious to think about changing the form of the persimmon. It was like asking a significant other to get plastic surgery. It just didn’t seem right. But this week when I got home I realized that there were persimmons in the fridge that were kind of going bad.  I’m of the group that likes hard and crispy persimmons instead of the soft and squishy ones. So I ventured to find some delectable alternative since I could never just throw out my beloved little friends.

Recipes for persimmons are harder to come by on the Web since it’s not as a popular fruit as many others. Now, firm persimmons are much more versatile in recipes, but I could never do that to a perfectly good persimmon. Ones that are mushy can really only be pureed and mixed in. I figured you could pretty much use it like pumpkin puree or mashed bananas, so I consulted a variety of sources online and then threw together my own improvised persimmon baked goods.

They aren’t and have never been my favorite fruits, but something about them and their relationship with me is special. And so here goes, a lovely persimmon Bundt cake.

Last thing: everything herein refers to Fuyu persimmons. Hachiya, stay away — we don’t want a love triangle here.

Persimmon Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

– 2 cups of pureed persimmons (about 4-6 persimmons)

– 2 teaspoons of baking soda

– 3 cups flour

– 1 1/2 cup white sugar

– 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

– 1 teaspoon of salt

– 1 cup applesauce (sweetened; if unsweetened, add 1/4 cup sugar to the mix)

– 4 eggs

– 1/2 cup milk

– (2 cups Craisins)

– 2 cups walnuts, chopped

Directions:

1) First you need to puree the persimmons. Make sure peel the persimmons first and remove the “seeds” in the middle. Stick it in the blender and let it whirl. Ours was broken so I pureed it with a spoon (took a little longer obviously). In order to preserve the dying persimmons, I also pureed and then froze mine ahead of time (since we were still working on polishing off goodies from last week’s holiday baking extravaganza). In order to freeze your pureed persimmons, just squeeze the juice from 1/3 of a lemon and mix it up and stick it in the freezer in an airtight container.

2) Add the baking soda to the pureed persimmons and mix well. Let stand for 3 minutes.

3) Mix in the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt to the bowl.

3) Add in the applesauce, eggs and milk. Mix well.

4) Fold in the (Craisins) and walnuts.

5) Pour batter into a greased Bundt pan and bake in an oven preheated to 325 °F for 65 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. [I needed my loaf pan for the Cranberry Orange Bread. If using loaf pans, you’ll need two. The baking time should be around the same.]

My Bundt pan was almost filled to the rim, hence the enormous cake.

It was good, but in the future I’d say take out the Craisins because the flavors conflict a little bit.

And since I was baking the persimmon cake, I baked the following as well since they all fit in the oven 🙂

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

It's really just a giant version of my pumpkin chocolate chip muffies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup of applesauce (sweetened; otherwise add 1/4 cup of white sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Combine the first four ingredients (pumpkin to egg)
  2. Add in the next seven ingredients (flour to vanilla extract).
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour batter into a greased 8-inch or 9-inch round pan and bake in a preheated oven at 325 °F for approximately 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

If you want to make the muffies instead for individual servings, here’s the recipe.

Cranberry Orange Bread


Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of applesauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup orange pulp
  • 2 cup Craisins

Directions:

  1. Mix the applesauce and sugar.
  2. Add in the egg and orange peel.
  3. Mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  4. Add in orange juice and orange pulp. (I squeezed mine fresh from two large navel oranges and used the pulp from them.)
  5. Fold in the Craisins.
  6. Pour batter in a greased loaf pan and bake in a preheated oven at 325 °F for 65 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.

*For the future, I’d reduce the Craisins to 1 cup and add 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans. If you have fresh cranberries those are also a better choice.

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

This looked amazing this morning after it had been refrigerated and put in the display case. (Sorry didn't have a chance to grab a picture of that!)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of applesauce
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/3 cup of oats
  • 1/3 cup of walnuts, finely chopped
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Combine the applesauce, flour, oats and walnuts. Mix very well and then spread at the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate or a springform pan. (You may also use a prepared pie crust if you wish.)
  2. Cream together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
  3. Add in eggs and mix well.
  4. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into prepared pie crust.
  5. Take the rest of the batter and add in the pumpkin puree and cinnamon. Blend well.
  6. Spread the pumpkin batter on top of the other batter.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 °F for 40-45 minutes or until center is almost set.
  8. Once it has cooled to room temperature, cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 3 hours).

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Off to see my best friends now!

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