My dad put a Hachiya tree in for my mom when they moved back to the States from Japan, and so I grew up watching my mom place firm, bright orange, pointed globes in the kitchen window, carefully turning them each day until they were so soft they were almost collapsing on themselves. Those ripe Hachiyas were always too sweet for me, but my mom loved eating the jelly-like insides, and she regularly baked persimmon cake for me and my sister from my dad's recipe.
I'm still not a fan of plain old sticky sweet Hachiya pulp, but there's nothing I like better than a crisp Fuyu cubed into a salad, or sliced and served with a strong cheese.
I'm still surprised when I meet people who don't know about this beautiful and versatile fruit, especially since it has such a long history among so many different cultures. When I finally buy a place of my own, a persimmon tree is definitely taking up some space on the property.
Dad's Persimmon Cake
1 cup shortening (trans-fat free versions available -- I like Spectrum)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
3 eggs, room temperature
2 cups Hachiya persimmon pulp
2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 13X9 glass pan.
Blend first 3 ingredients together until smooth. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Add persimmon pulp, flour, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and nuts (if desired) and mix for 2 minutes. Thin with warm water if the mix is too dry.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes.