While the two main types of persimmons look similar -- the Hachiya persimmons are somewhat more oblong than the more rounded Fuyus -- they differ in their use for baking. Hachiya persimmons need to ripen fully to a soft or even pasty state before you bake with or eat them; unripe, they're extremely sour. On the other hand, you can eat Fuyu persimmons when they are still firm and crisp, and you can bake with them when they are just semi-soft. Both types work in cookies, crisps, scones, muffins, bread pudding and quick breads.
Set Hachiya persimmons out to ripen at room temperature until their skins wrinkle and they feel like they will burst if you handle them too roughly. Ripen Fuyu persimmons in the same way -- they are ready to use in baking when they are slightly soft to the touch.
Wash the persimmons thoroughly under running water and pat dry.
Cut the persimmons open. Spoon out the pulp of either type into a small bowl to use as puree in breads and muffins. Puree the persimmon pulp in a blender or food processor to turn it into a puree. Add from 1 to 2 cups of persimmon pulp to bread and muffin dough and about 1 cup to cookie or cake dough. Add a few tablespoons or up to 1/2 cup of puree to waffle or pancake batter or cheesecakes.
Cut the fruit of Fuyu persimmons into chunks for crisps and tarts. Use persimmons cut into chunks in crisps, tarts and bread pudding, either by itself or paired with other fruits, such as apples, kumquats, pears or raisins. Add grated ginger, cinnamon and lemon or orange zest for more flavor.
- Three persimmons will give you about 1 cup of puree.
- Store ripe persimmons of either type in the refrigerator for up to three days before using them for baking.
- To ripen persimmons quickly, place them in a freezer-safe plastic bag and freeze them until they are solid. They will be ready to use once they are defrosted.
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