Happy Halloween! ’Tis the season of everything pumpkin: pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin lattes. Here’s a little something different for you this Halloween.

Check out the persimmon.

Translated in Latin as “fruit of the gods,” persimmon is widely popular among East Asians, particularly the Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese. My mama loved persimmon—I recall boxes of them piled up on our dining table growing up whenever they’re in season (which is now).

My in-laws also love persimmon. They pick fresh persimmon in the fall, eat them raw, and dry the rest. The hubs recounts stories of his childhood home becoming an annual persimmon dehydrating factory: his parents laid out sliced persimmon in the kitchen and living room, set up standing fans, and dried the pink-orange fruit for later consumption.

In Korean, the persimmon is called kam, while in Vietnamese, it’s trai hong (which literally means “pink fruit.” Persimmons are mostly light to dark orange, sometimes pink, and they look like a small tomato. There are two main kinds of persimmon: the stringent is eaten when fully ripe and very soft in texture, and the non-stringent tends to be firmer and less sweet. I prefer the latter, probably because of its crispier texture and milder flavor—imagine tasting a sweeter carrot with the texture of a tender apple.

I find that practically every pumpkin recipe can be made more unique by substituting persimmon. Eat them straight-up as a fruit (but don’t eat too much because, like mango, they are what Asians call a “heaty” fruit, meaning they’ll raise the yang in your body).

Why don’t you give persimmon a try this holiday and autumn? You can find them at most Asian markets. Their season is short-lived, so get on the persimmon train already.

And if you absolutely must get your pumpkin fix instead, you can try substituting pumpkin purée for the persimmon here—use about 3/4 c pumpkin purée.

Recipe: Persimmon Ice Cream

Notes: Persimmon can be purchased in the fall at most Asian markets.


  1. 2 c heavy cream
  2. 1 c low-fat milk
  3. 3/4 c brown sugar, divided
  4. 1 to 2 persimmons; peeled, frozen then thawed
  5. 5 pods cloves
  6. 1 vanilla bean, split, or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  7. 5 egg yolks
  8. 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  9. 1 tsp ground cinnamon


  1. Make custard: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together cream, milk, 1/2 c sugar, persimmon, cloves, and vanilla bean. Mash persimmon, remove from heat, cover, and steep, approx 30m; strain through chinois. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg yolks, remaining 1/4 c sugar, salt, and cinnamon on medium speed. Gradually temper 1 c cream mixture into egg mixture and whisk until incorporated. Return custard to saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened, stirring frequently, approx 1 to 2m more. Chill.
  2. Churn ice cream: Freeze empty ice cream container. Strain custard through chinois. Run through ice cream machine following manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to chilled container and freeze for at least 4h.

Active time: 30m
Total time: 5h
Yields: 1 qt

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Discussion about this post

  1. bubbs says:

    this sounds deliscrumptious

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