Orange is the new black

Dried persimmons
Dried persimmons

Around this time last year I found myself in charge of a friend’s persimmon tree, for the second year in a row.

It was laden with gorgeous orange fruit, but there was so much of it! It’s the fuyu variety, which you can eat when firm, rather than the jelly-like one (called hachiya, I think).

It was such a responsibility to make sure all that fruit was was used well, and that I also had a bunch of processed produce to hand back to its rightful owners when they returned. I knew how sad they were to miss its full glory.

I had made a kind of spiced cooked fruit the year before, ideal for tarts and such, but I never felt like it was entirely successful. It felt like a waste of a beautiful fruit.

So, last year I knew I needed a different strategy. We ate a heap, but that wasn’t going to get us very far.

I decided to try drying a lot, and that was a roaring success. It’s absolutely delicious and is now my favourite dried fruit.  Of course, this year I’m not in charge of the tree and my dried persimmon addiction looks likely to have to languish.

Once I’d dried a vast amount of the fruit, there was still more, so I

IMG_9568pulped and froze a heap. Just packed the raw pulp into freezer bags and put it away.

I unpacked the last of those bags yesterday as I had guests coming and I wanted to make something interesting in a cake. The pulp had lasted beautifully, with no loss of flavour. The inspiration for this cake came from food.com.

Persimmon and walnut cake 

Mix and set aside:
1½ cups of persimmon pulp
1½ tsps baking soda

Beat:
1¾ cups sugar (this seems like a lot, but the final cake did not taste overly sweet. I used raw sugar)
½ cup softened butter

the cake, with a little icing sugar sprinkled over the top.
The cake, with a little icing sugar sprinkled over the top.

This remains grainy.

Add and mix well after each addition:
3 eggs, one by one
2 cups sifted plain flour

spices: 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp ground allspice, ½ tsp ground cloves
the persimmon mix
¾ cup chopped walnuts
¾ chopped dates (the original said currants, which I didn’t have. I was going to use incaberries, but I discovered that pack was crawling with grubs. The dates worked fine)

In the oven at 175C for about 55 minutes.

Verdict: excellent! This only used half the bag, so I’ll make some more this week.

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