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Poh's persimmons

Green Lifestyle online

Persimmons look fantastic, and they're in season right now – but how on earth do you cook them? Poh Ling Yeow shares her favourite persimmon recipes.

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Persimmon salad

Poached Tofu Salad with Sweet Persimmon & Somtan Dressing

Credit: Caitlin Howlett

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Sweet Persimmons with Avocado, Pickled Ginger & Korean Seaweed

Serves 4 (as a vegetarian appetiser)
The nuances of flavour in a persimmon are very subtle, so I always tend to steer clear of applying heat but rather, take advantage of its uncomplicated sweetness and lovely, crunchy texture. This recipe takes its flavour profile from Japanese sushi. If you want to fancy up the dish feel free to add flakes of crabmeat and tobiko (flying fish roe), but here I’ve opted simply for a vegetarian version which makes for a beautifully refreshing canapé.
Ingredients:
2 sweet persimmons, calyx removed, peeled and sliced into wedges
1 small/medium avocado, mashed (and passed through a sieve for perfect smoothness)
¼ cup of Japanese mayonnaise (available in supermarket Asian section)
½ - 1 tsp wasabi paste
2 tsp lemon or lime juice
Salt to taste
Scant ¼ cup of Japanese pickled ginger (available in supermarket Asian section)
1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds, white or black (optional)
2 large sheets or 1 small packet Korean fried seaweed* (available in Asian grocer)
Method:
Mix avocado, Japanese mayonnaise, wasabi, lemon or lime juice, salt and pepper until combined. Transfer to a piping bag (if you want a tidier result but spooning is fine).
Arrange persimmon wedges neatly onto serving platter.
Pipe or spoon a nice dollop of the avocado mixture on each wedge, top with small rosettes of ginger, a light sprinkle of sesame seeds (if using), and then finish with torn shards of the fried seaweed. Serve immediately.

*Note: Korean seaweed is readily available in most Asian grocers. It differs from the Japanese type used for making sushi in that it is fried and salted, but look similar. Usually it comes in large square sheets (20 x 20cm) or small rectangular ones (7 x 10cm). If you are having trouble sourcing it, regular sushi seaweed will still taste fabulous.

Poached Tofu Salad with Sweet Persimmon & Somtan Dressing

Serves 4
South East Asian cookery is all about balancing and pushing the sweet, salty and sour notes in a dish. In this recipe the persimmons add the perfect amount of sweetness to this Thai-based salad, full of lively colours, textures and flavours.
Ingredients:
500g firm tofu, lightly steamed
4 sweet persimmons, peeled, and cut into 7mm batons
¾ - 1 continental cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthways and sliced 3mm on a diagonal
4 Chinese cabbage leaves, shredded
2 red eschallots, thinly sliced, or 8-10 spring onions, chopped
¼ cup mint leaves, torn
1 long red chilli, finely sliced (optional)
2½ Tbs fish sauce
5 Tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
5 tsp caster sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbs roasted ground rice* (optional – available from Asian grocer)
3 Tbs deep fried shallots (optional – available from Asian grocer)
4 Tbs chopped, salted, roasted peanuts (optional)
Method::
To steam tofu, place in a steamer above a small pot of water. Bring to boil and then reduce to a low simmer to cook for 7 - 10 minutes, covered. Slice tofu at room temperature into long, thin pieces about ½ cm by 4cm.
To make dressing, combine fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and garlic in a small recycled glass jar and shake vigorously until sugar is dissolved.
To assemble, combine persimmons, cucumber, cabbage, spring onions, mint, coriander and chilli (if using), tofu and dressing in a medium to large bowl and toss very gently with hands or chopsticks so as not to bruise ingredients.
Divide into 4 portions and garnish with roasted rice, fried shallots and peanuts and serve immediately.

*Note: You may make your own roasted ground rice by purchasing glutinous or sticky rice from an Asian grocer and dry toasting ½ - 1 cup in a wok or frypan on low heat until a pale golden colour. You must exercise some patience while doing this as a high heat will burn the rice but not toast it all the way through. Do not use any other types of rice as they will be unpalatable and a jaw breaker even after toasting, while this type of rice will shatter nicely between your teeth. Roasted rice is often added to Thai salads for its beautiful nutty flavour and textural crunch but also for helping very runny dressings adhere to salad ingredients. After toasting, cool, then pound in a mortar and pestle or grind in a spice grinder to a sandy consistency. Store in an airtight glass container for up to two months.

Persimmon Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Serves 10-12
This is a great recipe for very ripe persimmons. Originally, I wasn’t much of a fan of that slippery, jelly like texture but now I love it. It’s wonderful to slice off its little calyx hat and scoop into a wobbly pot of intense sweetness – Mother Nature’s ready-made jam! For those of you who remain unsure, this is a great way to avoid wasting ripe persimmons. Both the original and the sweet type is suitable.
Ingredients:
Cake:
Melted butter
Flour
1¼ cup caster sugar
1 cup full cream milk
2 eggs
3 - 4 very ripe original or sweet persimmons (you need 1½ cups of puree)
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or natural vanilla extract
2½ cups plain flour, sifted
½ tsp baking powder, sifted
2 tsp bi-carb of soda, sifted
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
Generous pinch of ground cloves
½ tsp salt
Cream Cheese Icing:
125g cream cheese, softened
½ cup icing sugar, sifted
1 Tbs lemon juice
50g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or natural vanilla extract (optional)
⅓ cup chopped toasted pecan nuts*
Special Equipment
26cm fluted ring tin
Method:
Preheat oven to 160ºC or 150ºC fan forced.
For persimmon puree: Remove calyx and scoop pulp out with a spoon. Discard skin and seeds, then blitz pulp with a stick blender or blender to make 1½ cups of puree. Set aside at room temperature.
For the cake: With a pastry brush, thoroughly grease ring tin with melted butter.
Spoon a couple of tablespoons full of plain flour into tin, turning and shaking it until the inside is completely coated.
Bang tin firmly on bench top to loosen excess flour, then discard.
With a whisk, roughly mix all the wet ingredients and sugar in a medium - large bowl.
Fold dry ingredients into the wet mixture in 3 to 4 batches until you have a relatively smooth batter.
Pour into the ring tin and bake for 50 mins to 1 hour, or until skewer comes out clean.
Allow cake to sit for a few seconds before turning out onto a cooling rack.
To prepare icing, combine all ingredients and cream with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.
When cake has cooled completely, slather roughly with cream cheese icing and sprinkle nuts over the top.

*Note: To toast pecan nuts, simply chop roughly and then dry toast in a frypan on a medium heat until nice and golden. You may also roast in a pre-heated oven at 160ºC for 5 to 10 mins. Cool before using.

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These recipes were supplied courtesy of Persimmons Australia Inc. Keep an eye on our social networks for our pictures of these recipes.