I love Autumn foods. Much more than I love the Autumn weather and certainty that Winter is coming. But the produce! Wow. The second blush of raspberries is always the best for me, even though I know they will soon be gone for another year. The new season’s pears and apples makes me want to bake, stat. Chestnuts and figs make me giddy. Yes, downright giddy with excitement. Their season is short but oh so decadent. The same is true for persimmons (kaki by another name, or cachi, as I called them growing up).
That sweet rich pulp is messy but one of the best flavours of the season. I have a preference for the astringent varieties that must be fully ripe before eating, but all varieties are delicious. I am lucky enough to have an aunt with a huge harvest from her tree and a big heart so I’m lucky to get a boxful (or two) every year.
They are so versatile, although undoubtedly best eaten with a spoon and a big smile. I add the pulp to my oats, on top of pancakes, with gelato, swirled through my yoghurt, and pretty much in everything. They make wonderful additions to tarts, cakes, muffins, ice creams, desserts, and even salads. They also make delicious puddings.
Many recipes for persimmon based cakes and puddings call for the addition of spices (usually cinnamon and nutmeg), dried fruits such as raisins, sultanas, and currents, and even brandy. These are delicious offerings and I have an example of my own yummy cupcakes here. However, they fail to do justice to this gorgeous fruit. The persimmon pulp in these recipes functions much like pumpkin does in many similar baked treats. While it imparts some flavour, it is primarily a textural ingredient. The spices, dried fruits, and other additions tend to overwhelm the delicate flavour of persimmon. From a food-pairing perspective, these are not optimal matches for the delicate flavour of the persimmon.
To let the flavour of the fruit shine as the star ingredient, I prefer to match its lovely flavour with ingredients that will complement and contrast the fruit. So here I have simply added a little fresh lemon balm from my garden. It marries exceptionally well with persimmon, and does not overpower the fruit flavour. I’ve also used extra virgin olive oil because it both complements the fruit well and makes for a softer, more delicate pudding, compared with butter.
You can make this both gluten-free and refined sugar-free (details in the recipe below). I’ve done both and it is still just as beautiful and delicious. This pudding is so good served as a light dessert with gelato, pouring cream, or yoghurt (especially if you infuse them with lemon balm beforehand). It is amazing with some fresh banana, passionfruit, or a little more persimmon pulp added on top.
Perfect for the cooler Autumn evenings … or afternoons … or mornings!
I do hope you enjoy this one 🙂
Persimmon Pudding with Lemon Balm
This pudding is soft and moist and lets the flavour of fresh, ripe persimmons (kaki) shine as the star. You can make this pudding free of refined sugar by substituting a granulated stevia blend (I do this a lot now and it’s brilliant). It can also be gluten-free if you substitute your favourite GF flour mix. It is a very forgiving pudding and easy to whip up. It makes a wonderful dessert, served with cream, ice cream, or yoghurt. Feel free to infuse these with some extra lemon balm. How much lemon balm you use depends on how much you want it to feature alongside the persimmon flavour. I like it to contrast and accent the flavour with a little freshness rather than dominate. About two grams of leaves is more than enough.
270 grams persimmon pulp (2-3 persimmons)
150 grams sugar*
158 grams egg (3 large)
235 grams milk
85 grams extra virgin olive oil
140 grams unbleached plain flour
5 grams baking powder
2 bushy sprigs lemon balm, leaves only, chopped very finely
*For a refined sugar-free version, omit the sugar and substitute an equivalent amount of granulated stevia blend sweetener (e.g. Natvia)
Preheat the oven to 165C/325F.
Line the base and sides of a 22cm (9 inch) square or round cake tin or pie dish. Set aside.
Purée the persimmon pulp and place in a large mixing bowl.
Add the sugar and whisk or beat until light.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, and olive oil.
Add to the persimmon pulp and whisk to combine.
Sift together the flour and baking powder.
Add the flour, baking powder and finely chopped lemon balm leaves to the batter and beat until smooth.
Transfer to the prepared tin and bake for about 60 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool, in the tin.
The pudding will rise and then fall again as it cools.
Remove from the tin and serve.
Leftovers will keep if stored airtight, at room temperature for a couple of days.