Let me start by pouring one out for all of the persimmons that were sacrificed in the making of this post. Thanks to these brave persimmons I’ve learned quite a lot in my quest to expand my persimmon palate. My biggest finding is that the elusive persimmon has a very delicate flavor that can be easily overwhelmed. Thus, my experiments with quick persimmon pickles and persimmon chutney were a bust. Not because they didn’t taste good, but because I could taste everything but the persimmon. Those sneaky orange fruits visually stood out in both recipes, yet all but disappeared the moment they touched my tongue. Clearly I needed to find a way to concentrate the essence of the persimmons, like roasting them in the previous recipe for roasted fuyu persimmon puree, rather than covering them up with strong flavors like vinegar.
I decided to try cooking them down with complimentary warming spices like cinnamon, cloves and allspice into an applesauce-like pulp and then make a further reduction by cooking off almost all of the remaining liquid. After taking what was left and blitzing it into a smooth, thick puree I had what I felt was a recipe worth sharing. A tasty, spreadable persimmon “butter” that truly allowed the flavor of the fruit to shine through. You really need a lot of persimmons to make this recipe (4 pounds of fruit condensed down to about 2 cups of puree once all was said and done). I’d say that’s a bonus if you have a tree, or in my case, a very generous friend with a tree. In just a few hours you can go from a wild heap of persimmons that are threatening to take over your life as you know it, to a few tidy jars that can satisfy your persimmon cravings for the months to come.
Persimmon butter recipe
8 whole cloves
8 whole allspice
2 three-inch cinnamon sticks
4 pounds fuyu persimmons, cut into wedges
Zest from 1 lemon, any pith removed
Juice from 1 lemon
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Lightly crack all spices then wrap and secure them in a few layers of cheese cloth tied with string. Add spice bundle, persimmons, lemon zest, lemon juice and water to a large pot. Bring to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 30 – 45 minutes or until persimmons begin to soften and fall apart. Set aside spice bundle, remove lemon zest and pass the persimmons and their liquid through a food mill (if you don’t have a food mill you could try blending the persimmons and their liquid until broken down and pulpy instead). Return spice bundle, persimmon pulp and liquid to the pot and simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally making sure the bottom does not burn as the liquid begins to evaporate. Continue for up to 2 hours or until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture appears thicker and darker in color. Take off heat, remove the spice bundle and stir in maple syrup and kosher salt. Transfer all to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Store in refrigerator for up to a month, or follow proper canning instructions to keep for up to a year.