Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Warning...don't eat unripe persimmons!

The day before Thanksgiving, a friend gave me several persimmons that she had received in a backyard produce exchange.  They were bright orange and a completely beautiful fall color.  I really wanted to figure out something to make with them for Thanksgiving.  I realized that I had never actually eaten a persimmon (only a few persimmon flavored things) nor cooked with one.  I was quite flummoxed as to what to do with these beauties.

My friend who was over at my house baking pies suggested I use them for table decorations.  But, my sister was bringing centerpieces and I really wanted to cook with these puppies.  For inspiration, I decided to cut one open and try it.  I figured once I tried it, I'd know what I wanted to cook it in.  Ummmm, can you say MISTAKE!  Holy Toledo, it was the most bitter, astringent, chalky tasting thing I'd ever eaten.  My mouth puckered up and I thought that if I didn't get this stuff off my tongue, I was never going to be able to taste again!  My friend had the exact same reaction.  We decided these would just be for decoration after all.

Following Thanksgiving, I did a little research on persimmons and discovered that there are two types astringent and non-astringent.  Three guesses on what kind I had!  The non-astringent persimmon can be eaten at any time, but the astringent type needs to be ripe (really ripe) before eating.  If eaten unripe, the person eating it feels like they are eating bitter chalk!  Yep, that was definitely the type of persimmon I had.  So, I decided to let them ripen and see what happened.

Well, these beauties ripened into a darker golden orange and became quite mushy to the touch.  I knew they were ready to be the star of some recipe.  After a little more research, I found an easy recipe for Lizzie's Persimmon Pudding at ChezPim's site.  The recipe is quite simple, the hardest part is that it has to steam on the stove for 2 1/2 hours.  I did not have a steamed pudding mold, so I used a bundt cake pan.  Worked like a charm. The interesting part is the batter is a lovely peach color before steaming and then turns into a wonderful, deep, chocolaty brown color when fully cooked.  The really yummy part were the cognac soaked raisins!

The result was a very tasty steamed cake/pudding.  After shooting the final photo, and the family eating the cake, I realized that I should have dusted the cake/pudding with some powdered sugar.  That would have made for a much nicer photo.  Oh well, live and learn!  If you've got some persimmons and have been wondering what to do with them, give this recipe a try.


Jacque said...

Wow, great job finding a recipe for your persimmons. Too bad they don't taste good right off the bat. They are such a wonderful color.

tricia said...

You are a brave soul ! I would have considered it a victory just to decorate with them ;) I can not believe that you endured the first taste test failure and ended up with such a beautiful cake - what a success. Kudos for endurance and experimentation. Great inspiration - esp during such a busy time of year. Tricia (Tricia&Nana)

Cher said...

Too funny. Glad to hear you perservered! I am intrigued by the steamed pudding/ cake concept.

Cakelaw said...

Gorgeous cake - David Lebovitz also has some lovely persimmon and chocolate muffins on his site.