Writing a blog can be a very solitary endeavor, but in this age of social media you automatically become a member of a community of like-minded people and it can be very fulfilling and inspiring to make virtual friends, share in their creativity, and learn from their expertise. I read dozens of cooking and baking blogs and it’s really easy to lose yourself in the multitude of images of mouth-watering decadent desserts and festive treats during the holidays. Tis the season for baking – for some of us anyway….
If you’re a frequent reader, you know that the focus of this blog is not baking, but more about fast, fresh, and healthy, balanced meals for busy people like you and me. I also try to introduce seasonal fruits and vegetables that the home chef might not be familiar with, but that are available in most markets.
Today, it’s the persimmon which are in season during the fall and winter months. The two most common varieties available in the U.S. are the Fuyu and the Hachiya.
Native to China and Japan, Persimmons are now widely grown for commercial use in California. Eaten fresh, cooked or even candied, the most common variety of Persimmon is called the Hachiya (or Japanese persimmon). Large and round with a pointy base, the Hachiya Persimmon is easy to distinguish from the Fuyu which is smaller, flatter, and tomato-shaped. Although both varieties have red-orange skin and jelly-like flesh when ripe, the similarities stop there. The Hachiya when completely ripe is soft, creamy and tangy-sweet (some say bitter or astringent), while the Fuyu remains firm upon ripening with no tangy aftertaste.
- 1 cup buckwheat flour*
- 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 stick unsalted butter cut into bits
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 2 cups Fuyu or very ripe Hachiya persimmon pulp from 2 large persimmons or 4 small ripe persimmons
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate 60 percent cacao, cut into 1/4″ pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease muffin tins.
In a large bowl sift all the dry ingredients together and set aside. (I don’t own a sifter either, so just mixed the ingredients well).
In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugars until they are light and creamy. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, mix for about 1 minute until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the persimmon pulp and bittersweet chocolate.
Scoop the batter into 12 or 24 muffin cups using a large spoon or a small ice cream scoop.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or 20 for the mini muffins. Test to see if the muffins are done by pushing down on them to see if they spring back. Remove the muffin tins from the oven, twist each muffin out and set aside to cool.
I used whole wheat flour, Fuyu persimmons, and Scharffen Berger Semi-sweet Chocolate chunks. I also forgot the cocoa powder but it didn’t affect the wholesome goodness or taste at all.
I came across this muffin recipe on my virtual friend Patty’s blog and was impressed because they make use of this relatively unfamiliar fruit AND, besides the healthy component of fruit, it called for chocolate chunks! It also caught my eye because there just happens to be two persimmons that have been on my counter for some time…just wanted to make sure they were ripe!
This is a simple recipe – even if you don’t bake much and are using the most rudimentary of kitchen tools like a hand-held electric mixer from the 80’s. I keep hoping that I’ll win one of those CSN Giveaways or Kitchen Aid will send me a mixer to test!