Grower-approved persimmon recipes
Have you tried a persimmon yet? If you haven’t, you’d better get your skates on – the 2021 persimmon season is coming to a close, and it’s been a humdinger of a year for this divine fruit. As well as being utterly delightful in sweet and savoury dishes, persimmons are rich in nutrients, including carotenoids, flavonoids and vitamins A, C and E. All these potent antioxidants can do wonders for your health – they help to reduce inflammation, give your immune system a boost and can even improve eye health. They’re also high in fibre.
Get playful with persimmon
When it comes to using persimmons in your cooking, their gentle sweetness pairs brilliantly with flavours like smoked poultry, cured meats, quality cheeses like blue and goat’s cheese, nuts and leafy greens. If you’re a fan of Southeast Asian cuisine, persimmons’ sweet notes are the perfect accompaniment to hot, sour and salty dishes. Here are a few ideas to get you started, courtesy of the champions at Persimmons Australia.
• Wrap prosciutto around wedges of persimmon and serve as a finger food.
• Persimmon chunks can be added to curry for some fruity flavour.
• Include thin slices of persimmon as a feature on your next cheese board for a burst of colour and a unique pairing that’ll make quince paste seem passé in comparison.
• Add persimmon to fruit salads for some honeyed sweetness.
• Next time you make a fruit crumble, instead of apple, pear or berry, try using persimmon.
• Dip wedges of persimmon into yoghurt flavoured with honey and a little cinnamon.
• Add slices of persimmon on hot or cold cereal for a different spin on breakfast
• Persimmons go beautifully with dairy desserts, either fresh or as a pulp or purée.
From orchard to table: grower knows best
Brett and Kate Guthrey have been growing persimmons for more than 30 years at Kathleen Haven Orchard, 35km out of Sydney, so they’re undisputed experts when it comes to knowing the best ways to eat this remarkable fruit. Kate has kindly shared two of her favourite persimmon recipes – one savoury and one sweet – to give you some inspiration. If you’ve never cooked with persimmons before, they’re both an ideal way to experience the sensational flavours that can come when you add an Aussie persimmon or three.
Pan-seared steak with persimmon & ginger dressing
This dressing is a true showstopper – a delicious combination of flavours that’s perfect on top of your favourite protein, like pan-seared steak. And it’s ready in just 30 minutes.
For the persimmon and ginger dressing:
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp black vinegar
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Flesh of 1 very ripe sweet persimmon or half a ripe original persimmon
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 stalk of coriander, finely chopped (leaves, stems and root)
1 chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
For the steak:
4 beef porterhouse steaks
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 bunches broccolini, halved lengthways
Diced fresh or dried persimmon, for garnish
1. Remove steaks from the fridge to allow them to come closer to room temperature before cooking (this should take 30 minutes to an hour).
2. Make the dressing by whisking all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste and add brown sugar if needed (you might not need the additional sweetness depending on the variety of persimmon you used). Set aside.
3. Combine olive and sesame oil in a bowl, coat steaks, season well with salt and pepper.
4. Heat a large frying pan or grill over high heat. Add steaks and cook for 3-4 minutes each side for medium rare. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil. Set aside for 5 minutes to rest.
5. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the same pan and reduce heat to medium. Add broccolini and cook, turning occasionally for 2-3 minutes or until bright green and just tender.
6. Serve steaks with broccolini, dressing and diced fresh or dried persimmon.
Vegan persimmon cheesecake
Vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free, this beautiful cheesecake will make anyone happy.
For the filling:
4 cups (450g) raw cashews
1⁄2 cup water
1 cup very ripe persimmon flesh (original or sweet)
1⁄3 cup fresh lemon juice
2⁄3 cup coconut oil
For the base:
2 packets (310g) Leda gluten-free gingernut biscuits
4 tbsp vegan butter, melted
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
For the topping:
1 very ripe and soft original persimmon or 2 ripe sweet persimmons, puréed
1-2 firm and crunchy sweet persimmons, sliced
1. Add cashews to a medium bowl and cover with water by a few centimetres. Cover, allow to soak in the fridge overnight. Once soaked, remove cashews from fridge, rinse and drain.
2. To make the base, grease and line the base and sides of a 23cm springform pan. Place the gingernut biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and process until they’re finely crushed. Add the butter and coconut oil and process until well combined. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and use a spoon to press the mixture firmly over the base. Place in the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling.
3. To make the filling, add all filling ingredients to a food processor or large blender. Blitz for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Pour over the prepared gingernut base and smooth the top with a spatula. Cover and freeze for at least 4 hours to set.
4. When you’re ready to eat the cheesecake, take it out of the freezer and remove from the springform tin. Allow the cheesecake to thaw for 45 minutes to 1 hour before serving*. Pour over the persimmon purée and garnish with slices of firm sweet persimmon.
*Once thawed, the cheesecake should be stored in the refrigerator until serving.
For more recipes and info on Aussie persimmons, head to persimmonsaustralia.com.au