Sunday, December 21, 2014

What's a Persimon?

What's a Persimon?  
Some ideas of what it is and what to do with it.  
Also a chance to win a trip to the place it comes from.

I received a lovely Basket of Spanish Persimon® from Ribera del Xuquer, Spain near Valencia, Spain.   I have never heard of this place in Spain and I didn't know that these were a special variety of Persimmons that don't have to be ripened to be able to eat.

Persimmons or Persimon is a new fruit to me.  I don't know if I have ever tried them before.  I may have mixed into a dessert in a restaurant somewhere without knowing or remembering but I was up for the challenge of trying this fruit in a couple of new ways.

Last night I hosted a Holiday party and thought it was the perfect time to try out these recipes to see what my friends thought about the fruit.

The big question was what does it taste like?
It's kind of like a peach and mango combined.

It was a bit of a food lesson for all of us trying to figure out what this fruit was, where it was from and what it tasted like.  I don't think any of my friends have ever tried it before.

Some facts that I learned about Persimon®:

  • very high in fibre
  • a source of: magnesium, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K
  • an excellent source of: vitamin A, manganese
  • contain 7 essential nutrients
  • 1 Persimon has only 118 calories
  • it is high in fibre
  • it has lutein, lycopene, magnesium and potassium in it
  • they are available from October to January
  • you can cook them or eat them raw
  • You don't refrigerate them.  Just leave them on the counter

I was given a few recipes to try and I decided to make the Persimon® and Chorizo Pizza and the Persimon® parfait.  I thought these would be the perfect dishes for a party.

I called my party Sips & Nibbles because I basically just had different bites of food like munchie foods and cheeses and dips and such and for the sips I made a really simple non-alcoholic drink with cranberries frozen into ice cubes, fresh mint, Lime soda and a bit of water.  So simple but it was a big hit and I wish I had more of the lime soda to make more.  I also had beer and wine on hand but the simple drink was the most popular.

I had my best friend who is Italian help me make the pizza.   We decided to make a few different versions to accommodate all the different dietary restrictions my friends have.   I had to make one without Chorizo and cheese and I made one per the recipe.   I made my own pizza dough but I won't give you the recipe because the dough turned out really tough..  Just go buy some to make your life easier.

The Persimon® and Chorizo Pizza recipe is:

500g Pizza dough (probably about 1 bag from the grocery store)
2 persimons thinly sliced crosswise
2 tblsp lemon juice
1 cup thinly sliced spicy chorizo
1/2 cup shaved Manchego cheese
2 tsp balsamic glaze
2 cups baby arugula
1tsp olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425F

On a lightly oiled work surface divide dough in half. Roll and stretch halves to form 2 - 9x15" rectangles.  Transfer to a baking sheet.  It recommends putting it on parchment.  I recommend oiling a pan and skipping the parchment.  It will give you a better crust.

Toss Persimon® slices with lemon juice and arrange on dough, top with chorizo slices.

Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until crust is golden brown.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with shaved cheese and drizzle with balsamic glaze.  Toss arugula with oil, salt and pepper and top on pizzas just before serving.

Serves 4.   I served it as party slices instead of a main meal.

Total calories for 1/2 pizza is 573 calories.

I made it again today with the leftovers but used a tiny bit of Kale instead of the Arugula.  You could use spinach too and I am sure it would be great.

The party version was kind of messy looking so this is the version I made today.

It's a great pizza for a party or special occasion.  It's similar to a fig and prochiutto pizza.  As you can see it's very colorful and the colors are reminiscent of Spain brightness.

My pizza dough turned out much better today but my friends still liked the pizza very much and they are a hard bunch to please and they all enjoyed their versions of it.

Then after we nibbled on pizza and other things I made a really simple dessert that can be prepped ahead of time and just assembled at the party.   Because of the dietary restrictions, no dairy and no gluten and a diabetic I set everything out and let them make their own parfaits based on their preferences.  It was a good idea for a couple of reasons.  I just set it up with cups and spoons and let them do it themselves so no desserts were wasted and my hands were free to do other things.  I added my own homemade granola to swap out for the gingersnap cookies in the recipe so that the crunch was still there without the gluten.  I used Coconut whipped cream as well.  It's a non dairy whip cream so some lactose intolerant people can have it without consequence.

Here's the recipe that was provided to me:

Persimon® parfait

4 tbsp. water
2 tbsp zest from a navel orange
2 tbsp sugar
2 cups of Persimon® cut into 1/2 inch cubes ( I cut them a bit smaller)  stem removed.
1 cup of heavy cream (I had heavy cream but just used the stuff in a can to make things easier and less messy.)
1 cup gingersnap cookies crumbled


Place water, half the orange zest and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Add the cubed Persimon® and simmer on low heat for about 3 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
In a large bowl whip cream until stiff peaks form, set aside.
To prepare, fill 8 parfait glasses with 1/4 cup of the gingersnap cookie crumbs.  Spoon 2 tbsp of Persimon over the cookie mixture and then top with the whipped cream.  
Sprinkle the rest of the zest on top of the whipped cream.

Chill before serving.
Makes 8 servings
1 parfait equals 215 calories.

This was a delicious and light dessert and with the gingersnaps it really tasted like a Christmas dessert.  I was really impressed at how good this one tasted and how easy it was to put together.   It really is a great party dessert because you can make the persimon ahead and just assemble at the last minute.

Here's a great BONUS for you..  since you read this to the end you have a chance to WIN a One Week TRIP to VALENCIA, SPAIN at

(unfortunately Quebec residents do not qualify)  sorry about that.

Persimons are very inexpensive but in season for a short time.  I saw a flyer ad for a case of Persimons for $5.99 so you can certainly try these recipes at your next dinner party.

Enter contest here:

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