December 28, 2015
Persimmons are in season. Briefly. I was just leafing through a 1978 issue of Gourmet, and came across an enchanting description of a wild persimmon hunt. Do wild persimmons still exist in this country? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one at a farmers market.
According to this article Diospyros virginiana or “American persimmon” has properties similar to the hachiya persimmon; both contain tannic acids that give them a powerful astringent quality. Apparently if you want them at peak sweetness, you wait until after the first frost to harvest the fruit. Given this year’s weather, that would be tomorrow.
American wild persimmons are smaller than the hachiyas you find in the market right now, but I’m sure any persimmon will work in this recipe. Marion Cunningham always sent me a persimmon pudding as a Christmas present, so this brought back a lot of memories. (This recipe, baked rather than steamed in a water bath, seems more like cake than pudding. Which is, in my opinion, another good reason to try it.)
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