I had never eaten a persimmon before living in Italy. I probably couldn't have even picked it out from a line up of fruit. But if you asked me, of course I would want to try a persimmon! I had heard good things about them, especially the elusive "persimmon pudding."
I used to go the market several times a week for my fruit and vegetables, one of my favorite weekly errands. It was a large market, the ground floor of the Mercato Centrale if you’ve been there, with lots of vendors, but there was this dear old man that always had the best tomatoes and lettuce. He would say "Ciao, bella," shake my hand, and always round the price down for me. He also had this habit of sneaking in a fruit or vegetable that I hadn't ordered. Whether that was a sweet gesture or a marketing strategy, I may never know. One day, after getting my usual tomatoes, I arrived home to find this strange object that looked curiously like an orange tomato, but was most definitely not. So....squishy and lacking that earthy, pungent, tomato vine smell. After a little research, I found I had in my possession a kaki! Okay, now what is a kaki?
After a little more research, I found that kaki is what the Italians call persimmons. Sweet, mysterious persimmons. Now...how to eat it? I quickly realized they are like jelly on the inside when ripe, and it's only the skin that holds it together. If that skin breaks, you have a real mess if you weren't prepared with a bowl or your mouth beneath it. I ate that first one in hurry, before it all dripped from my hands onto the floor.
From then on I bought them in packs and beautiful things happened, including various versions of persimmon pudding. Below is a raw and vegan version of the Persimmon Pudding. Makes for a great dessert, snack, or breakfast! Kaki on.
Recipe adapted from Blissful Basil.
*Note: Make the Chia Pudding the day before you want to eat the pudding, as it takes at least 8 hours to set up.
Chia Persimmon Pudding
For the Chia Pudding Layer
2 cups / 474g unsweetened coconut milk or milk of choice
generous 1/2 cup / 90g chia seeds
3 Tbsp / 60g maple syrup or honey
2 tsp / 9g vanilla extract
1/2 tsp / 1g cinnamon
pinch of cardamom
For the Persimmon Pudding Layer
3 ripe persimmons
1/4 tsp cinnamon
You’ll need 4 small (about 12 oz), clear glasses or bowls.
Make the Chia Pudding
In a medium bowl whisk together milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and cardamom.
Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
Make the Persimmon Pudding
Remove the stems from the persimmons and place in a food processor or blender. Add the cinnamon and blend until smooth.
Spoon about scant 1/4 cup Persimmon Pudding into the bottom of each glass. Top with a scant 1/4 cup Chia Pudding. Repeat layers until both puddings are gone. Should make three layers of each, or 6 layers total in each glass. Top with additional cinnamon, if desired.
You'll want your persimmons to be very ripe and very soft all the way through; they should be bursting when you try to remove the stems.
Persimmons are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and high in fiber.
Enjoy your Kaki Pudding!