I usually pick mine once the birds start eating them, even if they're not quite ripe; they know exactly when to target the tree, and I was even scolded the other day by a wax-eye because I deprived him of his feast.
I've baked them in cakes, but I prefer roasting them, peeled and sliced, with some pomegranate molasses . A quick dessert and simply served with creme fraich or a bespoke ice cream.
Last year, though, I thought I'd try something different, and came up with Persimmon 'Marmalade', which is truly delicious. It also contains oranges and limes, but persimmons add complexity to the flavour and of course give a different texture. This year I've made a double lot (which is quite a big quantity), but about half way through I had to put a lid on it and leave it overnight because i'd run out of time to jar it up. I completed the process the next morning, and I think if anything it was even better than the previous year's effort!
Not sweet, not sour, this ‘marmalade’ is not a traditional marmalade, but does have a lovely citrus flavour. Delicious with a hot crusty croissant (or toast, pancake or scone).
700g thin -skinned oranges
300g limes (or lemons)
1 kg ripe but firm persimmons
6 cups water (1 ½ litres)
4 cups sugar
Wash all the fruit but don’t peel.
Slice the oranges and limes or lemons thinly then into small (4mm) pieces. It’s important only that the skins of the citrus are not too chunky.
Chop the persimmons roughly then pulse in a processor until chopped but not pureed – it should look coarsely grated.
Place all ingredients in a large heavy bottomed pot and bring to simmer point over a medium-high heat.
Simmer for 1 ½ - 2 hours or until the mixture is reduced by about half and has thickened to a jam-like consistency.