The kaki fruit (persimmon, as it’s known in English) is synonymous with autumn in Japan. I remember collecting buckets of them with the elementary school children behind the local school where I worked in a rural village in Niigata. It reminded me of how we pick apples here in Ireland.
The foundation of Japanese cooking is based on using seasonal ingredients and during my trip to Japan last fall I got to experience this once again. Returning to the village that I lived in over ten years ago, the windows of the shops and bakeries were decorated with an autumnal theme, and vegetables such as sweet potato and pumpkins were used in creative ways on the menus of restaurants and bakeries.
During my visit, the local ladies that always used to share recipes with me taught me how to make a Japanese pickle dish using kaki. Needless to say it was delicious and I became interested in using kaki in my own cooking back at home.
In the past few years I’ve been delighted to see this beautifully colored fruit appearing in my local supermarket. Kaki is best eaten ripe otherwise it will be hard and bitter. To check, just press on the skin and it should be soft to touch. A really ripe persimmon can be eaten by slicing the top off the fruit and scooping out the flesh with a spoon.
For a real taste of autumn in Japan, try this kaki tart recipe which goes perfectly with a cup of matcha.
Kaki Fruit Tart with White Chocolate Cream
- Puff pastry, shop bought and pre-rolled (320g puff pastry makes 9 servings) (パイ生地)
- 5 persimmon fruit (about half a persimmon fruit per serving) (柿)
- Brown sugar to dust (黒砂糖)
- 100g good quality white chocolate (ホワイトチョコレート)
- 250ml fresh cream, whipped (生クリーム)
- Icing sugar to serve (粉砂糖)
1. Unwrap the pastry and roll out on a chopping board. Using a sharp knife cut the pastry into rectangular pieces large enough to serve one person for dessert. For 320g of puff pastry I divided the pastry into nine servings.
2. Peel the persimmon fruit, cut in half and then into thick slices.
3. Place four or five pieces along the centre of the pastry. Dust with brown sugar.
4. Bake at 200°C in a fan oven for 10–15 minutes until the pastry is slightly browned and crisp.
5. Break the white chocolate into small squares and place in a glass bowl over a saucepan of boiling water on a medium heat. Allow the chocolate to slowly melt while stirring.
6. Once completely melted set aside for a few minutes to let cool a little, then add to the whipped cream and mix well together.
7. Serve the persimmon tart with a spoonful of white chocolate cream and dust with icing sugar.