There are two main types of persimmon – the astringent heart-shaped Hachiya variety, only edible when very ripe and soft, and the squat, non-astringent cultivar, also known as Fuyu fruit. These are generally eaten when firm and crunchy, like an apple. Sweetly delicate in flavour, the sugars of both varieties concentrate when the fruit is fully ripe and very soft, and this is when they are at their best for baking.
240g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp nutmeg powder
¼ tsp salt
260g persimmon flesh (from 1 large, very soft persimmon of either variety)
260g caster sugar
240ml vegetable oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature
zest from 1 large orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the pecan crumble topping
60g plain flour
1 tbsp brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
⅛ tsp grated nutmeg
60g cold butter, cut in cubes
40g pecans, roughly chopped
1. For the pecan crumble topping, place the flour, brown sugar, spices and salt in a food processor and process to combine. Add the cold, cubed butter and pulse until it has the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs. Tip out into a small bowl and stir in the chopped pecans. Set aside in a cool place.
2. Preheat oven to 190C (170C fan-forced). Grease a loaf tin (approximately one-litre capacity) and line with baking paper, ensuring an ample overhang.
3. For the batter, sift flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together into a large bowl and set aside.
4. Prepare the persimmon by removing the pliable green calyx with a paring knife, then scoop out the jelly-like flesh with a spoon. Place the persimmon flesh in a food processor and process until it forms a rough puree. Add the sugar, oil, eggs, orange zest and vanilla, and process again until combined. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle over the pecan crumble topping.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
6. Cool on a cake rack for 30 minutes before lifting out the cake (use the overhanging baking paper to assist you) and transferring to a serving plate. The cake is best served on the day, but leftovers may be wrapped in clingfilm for up to two days.
Find more of Helen Goh's recipes in the Good Food Favourite Recipes cookbook.