Wild Persimmon Bars: Persimmon Facts
Wild persimmons are native to the Eastern United States and produce fruit during fall and early winter. These fruits are slightly smaller than a plum and are incredibly sweet when ripe. (If you happen to eat an unripe persimmon, though, you will instantly regret it. There are few foods quite as bitter and chalky as an unripe persimmon.) Though persimmons can be purchased from supermarkets during Autumn months, these cultivated fruits lack the concentrated flavor of their wild relatives.
Wild Persimmon Bars: How to Make Persimmon Pulp
Before I get to the Wild Persimmon Bar recipe, let’s take a minute to discuss how to make persimmon pulp. Any wild persimmon recipe will require you to separate the persimmon seeds from the flesh, and some methods yield better results than others. My preferred method is to place the persimmons in a heavy-bottom sauce pan and let them simmer for about five to ten minutes over low heat with a small amount of apple juice (the kind with no added sugar) to keep the fruits from sticking. Then, simply mash the persimmons and remove the seeds, or use a food mill to separate the seeds for you.
Wild Persimmon Bars: Ingredients
1 cup persimmon pulp
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
Wild Persimmon Bars: Directions
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease and flour a 10X15X1 jelly-roll pan (or other shallow baking dish) with margarine or butter. Combine persimmon pulp and baking soda together in a medium mixing bowl; allow to sit for about five minutes. Sift flour and spices together in a separate bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the eggs, sugar, salt and oil until well-blended. Incorporate the persimmon mixture, beating well as you add it into the egg mixture. Add in your flour mixture, and beat until just mixed. Fold in the vanilla, cranberries and walnuts. Pour the batter into the greased pan and use a spatula to smooth the surface. Bake for 20 minutes.
If you wish, you can also make a simple lemon glaze to spread over the top of the wild persimmon bars. Just mix together 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 cup of powdered sugar until the sugar dissolves, and spread the glaze over the uncut bars.