Persimmons are divine, and easily one of my favorite parts of fall. But I'm at a bit of a loss when it comes to recipes other than steamed persimmon pudding and salads. This year I decided to try something different (along with the old standards), because when you have a persimmon tree AND people keep bringing you sacks full from their trees, you have to get creative.You only have a small window when they're ripe enough for baking before they literally melt out of their skins, so I've started pureeing and freezing for use later in the winter. But I can't vouch for how that ultimately turns out.
This tea cake is lovely for breakfast, but also tasty as an afternoon snack with some milky tea or a rich latte. Serve it with a dollop of whipped cream, or perhaps even make a cream cheese sandwich from a few slices!
2 large, dead-ripe Hachiya persimmons, enough for 1 cup puree
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 ccups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (I used nutmeg because I didn't have allspice)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts
grated zest of 1 lemon or 1/3 cup candied grapefruit peel
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped dates (If possible, get these from the farmer's market! They are so much better and juicier than ones from the grocery store.)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8 inch spring form pan.
Open the persimmons lengthwise, pick out any seeds, then scrape the pulp into a small bowl. Puree (in the food processor), measure out 1 cup and stir in the baking soda.
Combine the flour, salt, and spices in a bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar until smooth, then beat in the egg, vanilla, and finally the persimmon puree. Add the flour mixture and stir until just mixed. Fold in the walnuts, lemon zest, raisins, and dates.
Scrape the batter into the spring form pan and pop it into the middle of the oven. Reduce heat to 325ºF and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes or so before removing the rim.
A note on the baking: You of course know your oven better than any cookbook. Mine is a vintage O'Keefe & Merritt, which while charming and fun to have in the kitchen, is not the most reliable for baking. I usually set it slightly under recommended temperature and tent the top of my cakes with foil. And I never leave it in as long as directions suggest. But I've left in Deborah's original instructions for those of you with well-behaved ovens.
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(Images: Kristina of Lovely Morning)