What’s a persimmon? That was my first question. Growing up, the persimmon was not a fruit that made its way into our house. But I find it is a highly underrated treat, and is capable of complementing many dishes. For this recipe, you can serve it as a stand-alone dessert, or as a side with pork tenderloin or something on that order.
I got my first look at a persimmon when my great friend, Olga Dovgopola brought one to me, which she picked up at the local Russian grocery! So my first experience was eating one raw – like an apple. I just sliced it up and ate it! It was delicious …sort of like a crunchy melon, but not overly sweet.
As much as I have a sweet tooth, I was surprised at how much I liked it! But Olga made a good call, there – Thanks Olga!! I’m so lucky to have friends from different cultures! The world is a big place, and learning new things about people and their traditions always makes me feel like I am growing as a person. I can’t help but enjoy all the little Ukrainian tidbits I am picking up from knowing Olga, Johnny, and their friends!
So after that, I started to experiment with the many ways you can prepare a persimmon. After a bit of trial and error, I have gravitated to this recipe. I find it’s one of the more satisfying to my taste buds.
1 Persimmon per person
Cinnamon – 1 ½ teaspoons
Ground Ginger – ½ teaspoon
Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon
Ground cardamom – ¼ teaspoon
Honey – 4 tablespoons
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cut persimmons in half. Leave the skins on, and place the cut side up in a corning ware baking dish.
- You can cover the dish with a lid, or tinfoil, or leave it uncovered. Each has a different effect on the persimmon. Experiment with your oven and determine which way makes the best persimmon for you! Personally, I put a lid on or use tinfoil.
- Let the persimmons bake for anywhere from 25 minutes to 40 mins …it all depends on your oven and how firm you want the persimmons. This is entirely up to your tastes.
- Combine cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cardamom, vanilla extract and honey in a small bowl.
- Start some water boiling. Once at boil, take 1/3rd of a cup of water and combine it with the spice mix you created in step 5. Stir well to get the honey and water fully integrated and make sure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed in. This should be enough for several persimmons.
- Once the persimmons are baked to your tastes, switch the over to grill or broil. Spoon the spice mixture over the persimmons and return them to the oven to broil for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the tops are caramelized and browned.
- Remove and serve.
For serving this as a dessert for guests, I love using a dollup of crème fraiche with the fruit. For ideal presentation, I would suggest placing the persimmon on a small plate, with a dollup of crème fraiche on the side and lightly drizzle the syrupy contents from the bottom of the baking dish over the crème fraiche. C’est magnifique!
An additional way I like to serve this is as a side to a pork tenderloin. I will simply serve a persimmon half per person and skip the crème fraiche ..that’s only for the dessert. Just a spice mix is all that I would put on this for a side.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment with these!! The neutral flavor palate of the persimmon adapts really well with other flavors – so for example, let’s say you want to serve this as a side to pork or beef roast but don’t want to go with the sweeter spice mix. How about using fresh rosemary a very light amount of white pepper? Or perhaps a nice Sunny Paris mix from Penzey’s? Try anything you want!!
Pro Tip: Consider adding fennel or star anise to this!
1 persimmon is 118 calories
1 tablespoon of honey is 64 calories.
Obviously the honey spice mixture gets diluted and cooked down in the oven, and spread among multiple persimmon, so it’s hard to claim that 4 tablespoons of honey are what you consume. I would say it is a more reasonable estimate to guess 1 tablespoon of honey. But that will depend on how much you use. It’s up to you.
Also, IF you use crème fraiche, that’ll add calories too!
Total calories: 182
For more information on healthy meal preparation, check out my article on the basics of nutrition here.