Exploring The "Fruit of the Gods" - The Fuju Persimmon!

 

Persimmon Upside Down Cake
I don’t know if you’re like most of us around here and are perhaps a bit intimidated by that beautifully formed, bright orange orb that ripens this time of year in trees all around the Napa Valley. Yes, it’s colorful and plentiful, gracing landscapes across the Valley with welcomed color as the leaves fall from the trees and the vines leaving the landscape a bit otherwise bare. But if you weren’t raised in Japan - where the persimmon is the national fruit - you may likely have no idea why you should be so excited about its appearance and abundance this time of year. We encourage a good dose of curiosity and promise the experience to be a pleasant one!

 

Fuju Persimmon Tree

Although the persimmon fruit originated in China, the Japanese adopted, cultivated and popularized it throughout Asia. The flesh of the fuju persimmon is mild, sweet and refreshing both when in its crunchy, just-ripe state and even when it’s a bit riper and softer. The layers of flavor are reminiscent of pear, dates and brown sugar with nuances of cinnamon. Dreamy!

 

Fuju Persimmons Ready for Harvest

And yes, health benefits abound! Persimmons are low in calories and rich in dietary fiber – a quality that helps us feel satiated which is especially welcomed during the holiday season when so many not-quite-so-healthy treats practically assault you at every turn!

They also contain significant amounts of Vitamin A and Vitamin C among many other nutrients. Just one 3.5-ounce persimmon contains about as much vitamin C as an orange, and meets 110 percent of the daily value. Vitamin C boosts your immunity, which is so needed this time of year, and protects your cells against free radicals, which may in turn help reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. It’s also needed to make collagen, which helps to keeps your skin glowing, and is the protein that helps heal cuts.

While it’s health benefits are many, don’t let that be the only reason to enjoy this super fruit. The flavor is so very appealing! This holiday season, take a chance on the persimmon. We are quite sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Fuju Persimmon Upside-Down Cake  gf

Serves 8

3 Fuyu Persimmons, blossom end removed

Syrup:

½ cup honey
½ cup water
1” piece, peeled, fresh ginger root, grated 

Cake:

2 cups almond flour
½ cup light buckwheat flour
2 Tablespoons potato starch
3 Tablespoons poppy seeds

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup honey 

1 Meyer lemon, juice and zest
3 eggs, separated
1 cup goat yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350°F

Combine the honey, water, and ginger in a large pot over medium low heat. Bring to a low boil and simmer for a few minutes, until the mixture is a rich, golden color. Immediately pour half of it into an 8” springform pan that has been prepared with parchment at the base. Set the remainder aside for drizzling over finished cake. (It may need to be reheated slightly.) Allow the mixture in the springform to cool slightly while while preparing the remaining ingredients. Set aside. 

Meanwhile, cut persimmons in half and slice into half moons. When honey syrup has cooled slightly, arrange persimmons on top of it in an overlapping pattern starting in the center and moving in a circular motion until the entire bottom of the pan is covered. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine almond flour, buckwheat flour, potato starch, poppy seeds, baking powder, cardamom and sea salt and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip butter lightly. Add honey and lemon zest and continue to mix until creamy. Add vanilla to egg yolks and then add egg yolks one at a time to the butter mixture until incorporated. Continue to beat for another minute. Add the flour mixture and, on slow speed, fold everything together until just incorporated. Next, mix in the yogurt just until incorporated.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, slowly fold the egg whites into the cake mixture.

Gently cover the persimmons with the cake batter. Place springform pan on a sheetpan. Bake until it’s cooked through and the top is golden brown, about 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for at least ½ hour before turning it upside-down on a serving platter, removing the sides, and gently peeling back the parchment. Drizzle with any remaining syrup before serving. (You may need to warm the syrup slightly to pouring consistency.) Enjoy!


Annette Shafer
Annette Shafer

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