Roasted fuyu persimmon puree
A couple of days ago I took the largest bag I could find over to my dear friends Maya and Braden’s house and greedily stuffed it full of beautiful fuyu persimmons that had just been picked from Maya’s mother’s tree in Sacramento. This abundant delivery of persimmons has become an annual tradition for those of us lucky enough to be friends with the Seely family, and one that I always look forward to as fall comes into full swing.
There are a few varieties of persimmons, the most common being hachiya, which are soft and pulpy and typically used for baking, and fuyu which are quite firm even when ripe. Karen’s tree produces the firm variety, fuyu, and in past years I’ve worked my way through my haul by eating them like apples and slicing them into salads. They are quite delicious that way, but this year I thought it would be fun to see what else was possible with this beautiful fruit and post my findings here. So, please bear with me as I have a few persimmon experiments that I plan to share over the next couple of posts.
Persimmons have a mildly spiced flavor and sweetness that it turns out can be concentrated with roasting. I sliced up several of the persimmons and coated them with a little bit of coconut oil and put them in the oven curious to see what would happen. To my surprise and delight they emerged beautifully golden brown and caramelized. After sampling a few I decided that they would make the perfect base for a puree and decided to see if I could come up with the ultimate plant-based compliment to the heritage bird that I have on order for Thanksgiving. It’s all about balance, right people?
The verdict: This silky, smooth and slightly sweet puree with coconut and ginger definitely has a place on my table come Turkey day, but would also be delicious with roasted mushrooms, a lovely fish filet or a succulent piece of pork.
Roasted persimmon puree
2 pounds fuyu persimmons, tops removed and cut into wedges
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 large white onion cut into strips lengthwise
2 cloves garlic sliced thin
1 cup water
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
optional toasted pecans for garnish
Preheat oven to 375. Place persimmon wedges on rimmed baking sheet, toss with 1 tablespoon of the melted coconut oil and cook at 375 for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and caramelized. Remove from heat.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in heavy bottomed pot and sauté onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add roasted persimmons, water, coconut milk, kosher salt and cinnamon and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook at a low simmer for about 15 minutes until persimmon skin becomes tender.
Transfer all to a high powered blender and add lemon juice and grated ginger. Hot liquid can be temperamental in a blender, so taking care to start on a low speed with the lid securely in place, blend ingredients until smooth, slowly increasing blender speed as you go. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Can be made a few days ahead of time. Keep refrigerated and reheat when ready to serve.