If you've never eaten a persimmon, they're in supermarkets for a short time only, so give them a try before the season is over. There are many varieties of persimmons, and they fall into either the "astringent" variety, like Hachiya persimmons, or the "non astringent" variety, like the Fuju. Persimmons taste sweet and delicious when perfectly ripe, but if you bite into one before it's nearly mushy, you're likely to get a chalky taste that will make your mouth pucker.
Persimmon trees are commonly grown throughout Italy, and are very popular in Asian countries like China, Korea and Japan. Here in New Jersey, however, it's unusual to find someone growing a persimmon tree, and if you do, it's a good guess their ancestry is Italian, like my friends Eleanor and Anna. Each year they're kind enough to supply me with some persimmons from their tree.
This year I thought I'd make a cake with them.
I searched the internet and came across many recipes, but the one on the website "Andrea's Recipes," using dates and with a lemon glaze, looked particularly enticing. It proved to be every bit as delicious as I had hoped. If you decide to make it, let me warn you that my basket of persimmons did not ripen all at the same time. As each one ripened, I squished it down and put the pulp into a container and froze it. When I had enough of the pulp collected (it took about six persimmons to make two cups worth), I thawed out the pulp and proceeded with the recipe. It's worth the effort, believe me.
Spiced Persimmon Cake With Dates and Lemon Glaze
(printable recipe here)
Makes 1 large Bundt cake.
medium mesh strainer
stand mixer with paddle attachment
12-cup Bundt pan, greased and floured
fine mesh strainer