Persimmon Trifle
60 Min

Persimmon Trifle

We recently celebrated my youngest son Noah's 21st birthday. A picky eater his entire life, he had already requested exactly what he wanted me to cook for dinner — but regarding dessert, he did not say much.

Claiming not to have a sweet tooth, over the years I’ve seen him shy away from dessert after dessert, both at the restaurant and at home. However, I had also witnessed him devouring more mainstream sweets. I knew I had to keep it simple to win him over, since he does not like strong complex flavors. I settled on a simple trifle, one of my childhood favorite desserts.

If my mother entertained in the summer, meals always ended with trifles — sometimes decadent layered concoctions with sponge cake soaked in syrups, homemade custard, fresh fruits and fresh cream; other times hastily thrown together trifles using what she could muster from her refrigerator and fruit vendors. Mango puree was an essential ingredient, and seeing the plethora of persimmons around us in Houston right now, I decided to use them instead.

The common astringent persimmon varieties, such as Hachiya or Jiro, can be ripened to a point where the inside pulp becomes soft and can be squeezed out of the fruit. The pulp is a gorgeous, almost neon orange, lightly fragrant, incredibly sweet, creamy and flavorful. Keep in mind that the Fuyu variety is better for slicing than for using as pulp.

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Cook Time

60 Minutes



Step 1
Cut the persimmons open and squeeze the pulp into a bowl. If any seeds or skin seeps through, finish squeezing them all, then strain the entire pulp. You should have roughly 1 to 1 1/2 cups of persimmon puree.
Step 2
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of the heavy cream with 1/4 cup sugar and cardamom and bring to a boil. Immediately turn the heat off and set the pot aside to cool slightly.
Step 3
Cut the cake into small cubes and place in a bowl. Pour the cooled cream mixture over it and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. The cake will soak up almost all the cream.
Step 4
Chill the remaining cream in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer for a few minutes. When ready to whip, combine with remaining sugar and vanilla and whip until the cream is stiff. 
Step 5
To assemble the trifle, use either 4 bowls or glasses or use just one large serving bowl. Layer cream-soaked cake with persimmon puree and whipped cream, then finish with more persimmon puree. Garnish with pomegranate seeds. 
12 medium ripe persimmons
2 slices sponge or pound cake loaf
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Handful of pomegranate seeds for garnish

Notes & Variations

  • To ripen persimmons, leave them out in a warm place or put them in a brown paper bag and leave them on a kitchen counter. The puree can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • The trifle will keep for up to 3 or 4 days, just add the pomegranate garnish at the end.
  • Persimmons are available at most Asian grocers and at Urban Harvest Farmers market at the Lightsey Farm table stand. 
60 Min

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The two most common varieties of persimmon are Hachiya and Fuyu. Hachiya, when ripe, has the most delicious, sweet flesh, which can be eaten straight up or in puddings or custards. Fuyu is the firm variety that is delicious in salads.