Wait until persimmons are just right and be rewarded
Persimmons are in season and they are delicious. But care must be taken as when under-ripe they have an unpleasantly bitter and astringent taste.
A former neighbour had a huge tree in his yard and gave me plenty of the fruit in autumn. The tree was of the original variety available in Australia, grown mostly as an ornamental. I had to keep the fruit at room temperature until they looked like they were about to "go off”. When the flesh had developed a jelly-like consistency they were ready to eat.
My patience was always rewarded. They have a definite honey flavour, so I often use that to sweeten a recipe containing persimmons.
There are now a few varieties of persimmon available here; the so-called "sweet” varieties (for example, the fuyu and matsumoto) are more forgiving and can be eaten while still firm.
You can substitute persimmons for other fruits in many recipes, as I have done in this yummy crumble. I love a good crumble and it's always an excuse to sneak a good dollop of thick cream, custard or ice cream on to a plate.
6 ripe persimmons
2 tbsp honey
70g brown sugar, divided
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
160g self-raising flour
100g unsalted butter at room temperature
Preheat oven to 180C.
Peel persimmons and cut into wedges. Combine the honey, one tablespoon of the brown sugar and the cinnamon and toss with the fruit. Place in an ovenproof dish and cover with foil. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place flour, remaining brown sugar and butter in a food processor and process until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle crumble mixture over fruit and return to the oven; bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until topping is golden. Serve with ice cream, custard or cream.