Persimmon what? Sharon fruit? Never heard of it!
These are the kind of comments I got from my office colleagues while they enjoyed their slices of this lovely cake.
I would have been one of them, but meeting a lovely person at Edd Kimber's Macaron class changed that. We started talking about local and seasonal produce when she described Persimmon as a tomato like fruit which tasted something like a plum. This, I had to try. Whilst doing my research on the fruit, I ended up on Azélia's Kitchen blog, which had some very useful information and lovely photos about the fruit.
There are mainly two types of Persimmon fruit. Astringent and non-astringent. The Hachiya variety is astringent and very bitter when eaten raw because of its high tannin content. It is ripe when it is very soft to touch with jelly like pulp. The "Fuyu"variety is non-astringent and can be eaten in its firmer form. Sharon fruit is also a non-astringent persimmon , so named after the location in Israel where it is grown.
Difference between an un-ripe and ripe persimmon
Persimmon Cake with cream cheese frosting
Whilst getting the permission to use my Cherry and Almond cake recipe for the blog, the publisher Jacqui Small, also kindly sent me David Lebovitz's new book. Lo and behold! there was a recipe in the book for Persimmon cake. I have tried a few recipes from the book now and they have so far all turned out pretty well including the famous pre-baked tart shell and pistachio-cardamom cake.
He recommended using "Hachiya" variety which I couldn't find in the superstore. I bought the only variety of the persimmon they had "Rojo Brillante". As it turns out, "Rojo Brillante" is an astringent variety grown in Valencia, Spain which is treated after cultivation to remove its astringency.
The only problem was the requirement for alcohol in the recipe, but a quick tweet later I was able to substitute it with apple juice.
Dried currants 120 grams
Apple juice 50 ml
Plain flour 280 grams
Bicarbonate of soda 2tsp
Ground cinnamon 1 1/2tsp
Salt 3/4 teaspoon
Nutmeg (freshly grated) 1/2 tsp
Granulated sugar 350grams
Butter (unsalted) 170 grams-melted
Persimmon purée 375 mls
Eggs (large) 3
Vanilla extract 2 tsp
Pecans (toasted) 150 grams
Cream cheese 115 grams
Butter (salted) 1 tbsp
Vanilla extract 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice 1 tbsp
Icing sugar 90 grams
water 4-5 tsp
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and coat a bundt tin with butter.
Bring currants to boil with the juice and then leave to cool.
Scoop out flesh from persimmons and blend to a purée.
Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a bowl. Add sugar.
Mix persimmon purée, eggs, vanilla and melted butter in a separate bowl. Add the liquid mix to the dry mixture and stir. Fold in the currants and nuts till just moist to avoid over mixing. Put the mixture in the pan and bake for an hour.
Beat cream cheese and butter together. Add vanilla, lemon juice and then icing sugar. Add water to turn it into a pouring consistency. Spoon over the cake and tap gently to let it drip on the sides.