Last month I got it into my head that I wanted to make a persimmon fruit curd. That was a little odd on my part really, since before this, I’d never even eaten persimmons at home – only on my travels. But this winter their orange piles have been beckoning me from several local grocery shops, and I was really keen to experiment. Once the idea of persimmon curd entered my brain, I couldn’t dislodge it!
Persimmons are a fascinating fruit. Bright orange with a smooth skin, at first glance they look a little like orange tomatoes or tomatillos, though they are related to neither. They vary in shape from round to ovoid and even square – such an unusual shape for fruit! – and the colour runs from light yellow-orange to dark red-orange. Botanically a berry, persimmons range in size from a couple of centimetres up to 9 centimetres but most I’ve come across are towards the larger end of that scale.
The most widely cultivated variety is the oriental persimmon Diospyros kaki, native to China where it has been cultivated for more than 2000 years. In Japan, persimmons are known as kaki fruit and are hugely popular. You may also know them as sharon fruit, the name by which the fruit is marketed in Israel, another key producer.
I first tasted them in Japan; they were in season during our two Autumn trips and many trees still had the orange fruits hanging to their branches, though all the leaves had long since fallen. Market stalls and supermarkets created striking displays of huge piles of evenly sized and coloured fruits.
When under ripe, the taste of many persimmon varieties is rather astringent; the high levels of tannin are unpleasantly mouth-puckering. Other varieties, such as the Japanese fuyu, are much less bitter and can therefore be enjoyed when not fully ripe – at this stage the flesh is still firm and crisp.
When fully ripe, the flesh becomes jelly-like with a rich flavour and intense sweetness.
They are also enjoyed dried, a great way of preserving a seasonal favourite.
Having fixated on the idea of making fruit curd, which is known as fruit butter in North America by the way, I wanted very ripe fruits with sweet, jellied interiors so I was delighted to spot a bowl of seven slightly-past-their-best persimmons for £1 at one of my local ethnic grocery shops. I can rarely walk past the displays of fruit lined along the outside front of the shop without buying something good to eat!
My first attempt – persimmon and lemon curd – had a wonderful flavour but I blended it for it too long and as it overheated, the eggs curdled. In the mouth, it still felt super smooth and didn’t taste eggy but visually, it had a curdled texture.
For my second trial I adjusted the recipe ratios a touch, but changed the timings a lot and that resulted in a thick, silky smooth curd that was everything I hoped it would be. I also increased volumes to use the remainder of the persimmons, but you can certainly scale the recipe down to two thirds or even a third, easily enough.
I also switched lemon for bergamot on the second run, as I had a couple on hand. Bergamot are actually sour oranges but their yellow skin and sour flesh and juice mean they make a perfect substitute for lemons, and their zest gives off that trademark Earl Grey scent – the tea is flavoured with bergamot oil extracted from the skin of these distinctive citrus fruits.
The flower-shaped calyx of the persimmon fruit can be hard to remove, more so when the fruits are not fully ripe. My tip is to place the fruits upside down on the chopping board, calyx-side down. Cut the fruit in half until the knife is pushing on the calyx. Then take the two halves of the fruit, still joined at the calyx, and pull them apart. The calyx will remain attached to one half. You can then either pull it off by hand or use a sharp knife to cut it away from the fruit.
Because I wanted super ripe fruits, there were a few patches on some of the persimmons that were too ripe to use. I cut these out and discarded them. To get 500 grams of chopped fruit (skin on) I used four fruits.
Persimmon & Bergamot Fruit Curd | Power Blender Recipe
Makes approximately 1 litre fruit curd; can be scaled down as required
500 grams roughly chopped persimmon fruit (see note below on peeling)
200 grams caster sugar
zest of 2 bergamot oranges (or 1 lemon)
120 ml bergamot orange juice (or lemon juice)
3 whole eggs + 3 egg yolks
150 grams butter, roughly cubed
0.5 teaspoon salt
Note: Because I knew my Froothie Optimum power blender could handle them, I decided to keep the skin on to add extra colour and fibre. However, the skin is pretty tough so if you make this using a less powerful blender, you may prefer to peel the fruit.
Note: The Froothie Optimum 9400 has an incredibly powerful motor that powers the blade to 44,000 rpm – and it’s the friction generated by that speed which heats up the mixture as it blends, allowing you to blend and cook the curd in one step. If you make this using a less powerful blender, you may need to transfer the blended mixture to a pan and cook over very gentle heat to thicken the curd.
Note: I sterilise my jam jars in the oven (and boil lids in a saucepan on the stove) before I start weighing and preparing ingredients. Before I transfer ingredients to the blender jug to make the curd, I remove the jars from the oven and lay the lids out onto a clean tea towel, so they cool off a little before I pour the finished curd into the jars a few minutes later.
- Place all ingredients except butter into the blender jug and switch on at low power. Smoothly turn up the power to full. After about a minute the ingredients should be blended into a super smooth liquid.
- With the blender still on, remove the cap in the lid and gently drop the butter in piece by piece. I took about a minute to drop all the butter into the mix.
- Blend for another two to three minutes until the jug starts to feel a little warm to the touch. Don’t let it get really hot – you don’t want to overheat the curd.
- As soon as the jug feels warm, switch off the blender and dip a spoon in to check taste and texture. The curd should be thick and smooth. If it is, you’re done. If not, blend for a little longer and check again.
- Transfer straight into still-warm sterilised jam jars and seal.
Other power blender fruit curd recipes you may enjoy:
- Tinned Tomatoes’ Lime Curd
- Greedy Gourmet’s Kiwi Fruit Curd
- The Crafty Larder’s Passion Fruit & Lime Curd
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