A Persimmon Walked into a Bar

Persimmon is a Fall favorite, native to China, introduced to California during the mid 1800’s. There are many varieties of the “non-astringent” persimmon which contains less tannins than its “astringent” cousins which must ripen fully to be eaten or included in recipes. I have used both California persimmons most easily found, the Fuyu and Hachiya varieties in baking by ripening them in a paper bag with a few apples. The purees may be used the same as you might use pumpkin, taking care to strain out the fibrous inner strands of the fruit.  Shown above is the persimmon tree, the Hachiya, the Fuyu, Persimmon Bars and more Fuyu.

In addition to a good supply of vitamins and minerals, some of persimmon’s health benefit properties include dietary fiber, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidants like the carotenoid Zea-xanthin which protects against age-related macular disease.

Lemon-Glazed Persimmon Bars

1 large egg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups finely chopped dates, or stemmed, re-hydrated dried figs, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup persimmon pulp
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
lemon zest (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. Combine egg, sugar, and finely chopped dates or figs in a bowl; mix well. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice and baking soda. Add a mixture of flour, salt, cinnamon, orange zest, nutmeg, and cloves alternately with pureed persimmons, mixing well after each addition. Stir in chopped nuts.
  3. Spread in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray, and bake for 25 minutes, or until light brown. Cool for 5 minutes. Lift out of pan by using edges of parchment paper and cool completely before glazing and cutting.
  4. Glaze with a mixture of powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.  Sprinkle lemon zest over moist glaze, if desired.  May be frozen, placed in pie boxes.

Makes 24 bars.

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