Falling for Persimmons and a Teacake Recipe

Persimmons

I discovered persimmons when I lived in Europe, where they are commonly known as sharon fruit. They were a mystery to me at first, these orange tomato-like creatures – how to eat them? Skin or no skin? I quickly learned to enjoy persimmons in their entirety, with their taught crisp skin giving way to dribbling soft, honey-sweet flesh. Now I live in California, where persimmon trees grow in our garden, their globe-shaped fruit dangling from the branches, stubbornly holding on long after the leaves have fallen, resembling neglected Christmas ornaments. At this time of the year, while the leaves are still intact, the persimmon trees are at their prettiest. The fruit is continuing to ripen, and their pumpkin orange skin is striated in golds and pale greens, while the robust leaves are streaked in crimson.

persimmonsThere are two types of persimmons: the round squat fuyu and the more upright heart-shaped hachiya. The hachiya must be eaten at its ripest, which means incredibly squishy, to avoid its astringent unripened flesh. It’s best to enjoy an hachiya as a big juicy slurp with a napkin in hand, or blending its pulp into baked goods. Unlike the hachiya, the fuyu is not astringent, so it may be eaten firm or soft. I enjoy the firmness of fuyus when their consistency is similar to a crisp pear. In this stage they hold their shape well and have a gentle sweetness, which makes them a great addition to salads and salsas. The firm fuyu fruit can also be grated and mixed into baked goods – such as in this teacake.

Persimmon cake

Persimmon Olive Oil Teacake

The sweet and mild persimmon adds a gentle honey perfume to this cake.
Makes 1 loaf

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely grated fuyu persimmon, packed, about 2 persimmons
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter or oil a loaf pan.
Whisk the flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
In large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugars until light and fluffy, then whisk in the oil and vanilla. Add the flour ingredients and stir to just combine. Stir in the persimmon and walnuts.
Pour into the baking pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes clean, about one hour, depending on the shape of the pan. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature.

persimmon cake

17 responses to “Falling for Persimmons and a Teacake Recipe

  1. I love persimmons and the cake looks so good. I love the shots of the fruit as well. Gorgeous!

  2. Beautiful cake! I don’t think I’ve ever had persimmons.

  3. I still miss the bag of persimmons I used to get from a friend in LA – I made a dense cake, similar to yours, that we called a “pudding”. Now I know what “sharon Fruit” are –

  4. Many of my friends here in California that have persimmon trees share their fruit with me. They look wonderful in a bowl and I eat as many as I can and use them in recipes. Your photos are gorgeous.

  5. Persimmons are often passed by for the other stars of autumn– apples and pears. But a ripe persimmon is so sweet and juicy! A gorgeous and tempting recipe that just screams fall!

  6. A moist and delightful cake! Lovely persimmon clicks.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  7. Beautiful photos as always. I’ve never been a huge fan of persimmons, but I recently heard you can stick them in the freezer for about an hour, cut the top off, and just eat them as a sorbet-type dessert- I may try them this way.

  8. I have been searching for a recipe like this, as I too live here in Marin, and have just harvested my first persimmons from our tree we planted last year. I kind of figured I could use it like an apple, and have made a rustic persimmon tart. This sounds great too, will have to give it a try!

  9. Yumm! We are putting persimmons on everything– breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

  10. Nice post! Never thought of “persimmon cake” though the fruit is very popular in Japan.

  11. I just made this cake and it was absolutely delicious! The persimmon gives it a nice, slightly unusual taste that has just the right amount of sweetness. I took a picture and posted it on my Pinterest board – http://www.pinterest.com/pin/50313720812747823/

  12. Love your pictures of the fruit & the cake sounds amazing! Last week I had the opportunity to visit a local persimmon farm here on Maui, and was able to purchase a nice box of them. I’ve been putting them in salads & eating out of hand, but I am going to try your cake. One question though. Your photo looks like an 8×8, but the recipe says loaf pan. I can go with either, but if I use a loaf pan, is the recipe for a 9×5? Thanks for sharing!!

    • I used an unusual ceramic dish which is smaller than an 8×8 but has the equivalent volume as a 9×4 loaf pan. As pan sizes can vary, I would recommend you start checking the cake after it’s been baking 50 minutes for doneness.

  13. Thanks for your speedy reply!

  14. This looks delicious, reminiscent of a carrot cake. Great to see persimmons being used in this way.