I remember as a child my mother peeling away the skin from what looked like a tomato and biting into it. I must admit that I never really liked persimmon as a child as the ripened texture was always so mushy, but as an adult I have endless appreciation for the delicate flesh and intense sweetness. Persians adore persimmon and use them to make jams and fruit leathers. This dessert is super simple to make and can be prepared in advance, so is great for entertaining. Adding a little peppery heat complements the sweet compote, which cuts beautifully through the moreish cream. If you can’t find persimmons, your favourite jam will also work a treat.
Persimmon and black pepper compote
- 2 soft and ripe persimmons (approximately 200 g each)
- 75 g caster sugar
- 1 large unwaxed lime, finely grated zest and juice
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Lime and basil cream
- 900 ml double cream
- 3 large limes, finely grated zest and juice
- 200 g caster sugar
- 2 handfuls basil leaves (about 7 g), rolled and thinly sliced into ribbons
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 2 hours
Resting time 15 minutes
To make the cream, put the double cream, lime zest, sugar and basil in a saucepan over a medium heat, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Add the lime juice, stir and allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a measuring jug. Divide it equally into glasses, pots or little bowls and leave to cool slightly, then refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours to set.
To make the compote, peel the persimmons carefully, ensuring you retain as much flesh as possible, and finely chop the flesh (especially the harder parts).
Transfer the chopped flesh to a saucepan set over a medium-low heat. Add the sugar, lime zest and juice, vanilla bean paste and black pepper and stir the ingredients well, then cook for 45–60 minutes so that the jam is bubbling gently, not aggressively.
Cooking times vary, depending on the heat source, so keep an eye on your jam and stir only 2–3 times to prevent sticking. Once it has reached a thick, jam-like consistency, remove from heat and allow to cool.
About 15 minutes before you are ready to serve, remove the cream pots from the refrigerator, divide the compote equally between them, allow to rest for 15 minutes, then serve.
Recipes and images from Sirocco, Fabulous Flavours From The East by Sabrina Ghaynour (Hachette Australia, $39.99, hbk).
View our Readable feasts review and more recipes from the book here.