Persimmons aren't a rare sight in our grocery stores, but I'm sure everybody who sees them wonders why they're there. Nobody I've met knows what they taste like or what to do with them, so I'm not sure where the demand for them comes from.
I bought a persimmon last week and I also had no idea what I was going to do with it. It's my second time buying one. The first time was about a year ago and the persimmon I got was of the short, stout variety known as a Fuyu. I eyeballed it for a few days and finally just dug into it with a spoon. I wouldn't say it tasted bad by any means, but I also didn't finish it. It just wasn't a really noteworthy experience, ya know? It tasted sort of like a mild, sweet melon, but with a much softer texture.
This year's annual persimmon experiment was different though. I bought a persimmon that was larger and longer -- kind of shaped like a heart (a real blood-pumping one, not the cutesy cartoon kind). Wikipedia tells me this is a Hachiya persimmon, which the label on the fruit confirmed . Apparently Hachiya persimmon's aren't nearly as good for eating straight, so that idea was nixed right off the bat. In fact, when they are unripe, they are said to taste downright nasty and may even mess up your insides. No thanks!
Wanting do avoid this, I sought suggestions for cooking with them. I learned that it's best to let them ripen for several days (I waited about a week) until they are soft and squishable. When I cut it open, it had the texture of jelly on the inside, but it was surprisingly not as awful looking as I imagined it might be. This was not like the first time I opened a passion fruit, which look way less sexy on the inside than the name would suggest -- unless you're turned on by piles of alien boogers, anyway.
Long story short, I pureed the pulp of the fruit and used it to make cupcakes! The recipe I used called for pumpkin pie spice (I made my own blend) and orange juice, but it mostly ended up tasting like pumpkin pie cupcakes. And yes, I'd even say they taste pretty great, although I can't honestly pick out the flavour of the persimmon in there.
In conclusion, I still have no idea what a persimmon tastes like, but these cupcakes are delicious. This is the recipe I used: Clicky Mclinkenstein over here. I ran out of pulp for the frosting, so I made a super-simple brown butter icing instead.