Persimmon Pound Cake
2 cups of persimmon puree
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup whole milk
½ cup melted butter
½ cup whipping cream
¼ cup of honey
2 tablespoons brandy
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted walnuts
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees lightly grease a 9-inch baking dish or smaller individual molds.
In a large bowl, whisk together the puree, sugar, milk, butter, cream, honey and eggs until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the brandy. In a separate bowl, sift, the flour, with the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Stir into the wet ingredients. Fold in the walnuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for one hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before removing from pan.
The Persimmon Fruit
Most of the world calls them kaki; they are caqui in Spanish, or Sharon fruit in Israel. In the United States, we call them persimmons after the Algonquin Indian name for Diospyros Virginian, the Native American persimmon or Possum Persimmon. The genus name, Diospyros, means “food for the gods”. Once you get to know persimmons, you will agree they are indeed food for the gods. The genus Diospyros has three species of importance to the home gardener, kaki, Virginian and digyna.
Growth Habit: The persimmon is a multitrunked or single-stemmed deciduous tree to 25 ft. high and at least as wide. It is a handsome ornamental with drooping leaves and branches that give it a languid, rather tropical appearance. The branches are somewhat brittle and can be damaged in high winds.
Foliage: Persimmon leaves are alternate, simple, and ovate and up to 7 inches long and 4 inches wide. They are often pale, slightly yellowish green in youth, turning a dark, glossy green as they age. Under mild autumn conditions the leaves often turn dramatic shades of yellow, orange and red. Tea can also be made from fresh or dried leaves.
Flowers: The inconspicuous flowers surrounded by a green calyx tube are borne in the leaf axils of new growth from one-year old wood. Female flowers are single and cream-colored while the pink-tinged male flowers are typically borne in threes. Commonly, 1 to 5 flowers per twig emerge as the new growth extends (typically March). Persimmon trees are usually either male or female, but some trees have both male and female flowers. On male plants, especially, occasional perfect (bisexual) flowers occur, producing an atypical fruit. A tree’s sexual expression can vary from one year to the other. Many cultivars are parthenocarpic (setting seedless fruit without pollination), although some climates require pollination for adequate production. When plants not needing pollination are pollinated, they will produce fruits with seeds and may be larger and have a different flavor and texture than do their seedless counterparts.
Fruit: Persimmons can be classified into two general categories: those that bear astringent fruit until they are soft ripe and those that bear non-astringent fruits. Within each of these categories, there are cultivars whose fruits are influenced by pollination (pollination variant) and cultivars whose fruits are unaffected by pollination (pollination constant). Actually, it is the seeds, not pollination per se, that influences the fruit. An astringent cultivar must be jelly soft before it is fit to eat, and such cultivars are best adapted to cooler regions where persimmons can be grown. The flesh color of pollination-constant astringent cultivars is not influenced by pollination. Pollination-variant astringent cultivars have dark flesh around the seeds when pollinated. A non-astringent persimmon can be eaten when it is crisp as an apple. These cultivars need hot summers, and the fruit might retain some astringency when grown in cooler regions. Pollination-constant non-astringent (PCNA) persimmons are always edible when still firm; pollination-variant non-astringent (PVNA) fruit are edible when firm only if they have been pollinated.
The shape of the fruit varies by cultivar from spherical to acorn to flattened or squarish. The color of the fruit varies from light yellow-orange to dark orange-red. The size can be as little as a few ounces to more than a pound. The entire fruit is edible except for the seed and calyx. Alternate bearing is common. This can be partially overcome by thinning the fruit or moderately pruning after a light-crop year. Astringency can also be removed by treating with carbon dioxide or alcohol. Freezing the fruit overnight and then thawing softens the fruit and also removes the astringency. Un-harvested fruit remaining on the tree after leaf fall creates a very decorative effect. It is common for many immature fruit to drop from May to September.