“Pucker Up” Persimmon Bars

I was grocery shopping a few weeks ago and saw persimmons on sale. I’ve never worked with, much less tasted a persimmon before, so of course my interest was piqued 😉

What is a persimmon? It’s actually the fruit of the Diospyros tree and varies in hue from yellow-orange to red-orange. While they look similar in shape to a tomato, their flavor profile resembles dates when ripe. The Asian varieties of persimmons are considered “astringent”, and have high levels of tannins in their fruit that only soften as they ripen. “Non-astringent” persimmons are fairly sweet, even when not completely ripe, with lower levels of tannins in the fruit; the American persimmon, Black persimmon, and Mexican persimmon fall into this category.

I was actually hoping that the fruit was going to be astringent, but the persimmon variety I bought (Bouquet) most definitely tasted like dates, with no astringency. I was thinking lemon bars but with persimmons.

Well, that’s kind of what happened here. I was super pleased with the shortbread that served for the crust, and used the persimmons as my sugar for the curd.

Note, this is not a quick recipe. You’ll need to make it one day ahead of time because it needs to set overnight, so keep that in mind 😉

For this recipe, you will need:

Shortbread Crust

Shortbread ingredients - Pucker Up Persimmon Bars

3/4 c. Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all purpose flour
1 c. brown rice flour
10 T. unsalted butter, soft and cut into about 1″ pieces
2 T. cane sugar
2 T. powdered sugar
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Add the sugars to a food processor and make a fine powder. Add the butter and cream.

Creamed butter and sugar - Pucker Up Bars Then add flour, in 2 additions, until no dry flour is visible.

Shortbread Batter 1Shortbread Batter 2

Shortbread Batter 3

Then, using your hands, knead the dough on wax paper.

Shortbread Dough

How will you know when you’re done kneading the dough? The dough will be smooth and well mixed.

Line a baking pan (13″ x 9″) with aluminum foil. Press the dough into the bottom of the baking pan, trying to ensure consistent thickness throughout.

Shortbread Ready to Bake

Bake the shortbread for about 35 minutes – until slightly golden, but not browned.

Baked Shortbread

Allow the shortbread to cool. I wanted to speed up the cooling process so I threw the shortbread into the refrigerator while I made the curd.

This shortbread recipe tastes amazing. It’s buttery and crumbles perfectly when you bite into it. I’d use this for regular shortbread cookies, not just as a crust. Note, for the cookies, roll out the dough with rolling pin and cut out the cookies with your favorite cookie cutter 🙂

Now, onto the Persimmon and Lemon Curd topping…

For this recipe, you will need:

3 persimmons (I used Bouquet – Spanish)
2 blood oranges
3 lemons
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. ground ginger
2 pinches of cardamom
8 egg yolks
5 T. butter

First, zest the oranges and lemons.

Zesty Zesty Zest Zest - Pucker Up Persimmon Bars

Then, juice the oranges and lemons. Be sure to juice through a strainer to prevent any pulp in your curd.

Citrus juice - Pucker Up Persimmon Bars Next, quarter the persimmons. Cut off the peel and clean away the center of the  persimmons. The pile on the left is what goes onto the food processor. The middle pile is the peel of the persimmon, and the pile on the right is the center of the persimmon.

Persimmon Prep - Pucker Up Persimmon Bars

Blend the persimmons in a food processor or blender for 2-3 minutes. The mixture should be velvety smooth. Note, 3 persimmons will make about one cup of persimmon puree.

Persimmon Puree - Pucker Up Persimmon Bars

Add the juice and blend. Then add the butter and blend. Next, add the ginger and salt and blend.

Finally, add the egg yolks and blend.

Transfer the mixture from the food processor or blender to a saucepan. Cook on low heat (absolutely no boiling or you will overcook the egg yolks) for about 10 minutes.

My curd started out as a lovely rose colored mixture, but as it cooked, it lightened in color and thickened. You’ll know it’s done cooking when you can make a streak through the middle of it if you coat the spoon. Check out this lemon curd recipe – it has a great photo demonstrating this test for doneness. You can also use a candy thermometer – when it reads 170 degrees F, your curd is cooked.

Curd - Pucker Up Persimmon Bars Now, once the curds starts to cool a bit, cover your shortbread. Gently shake the pan from side to side to smooth out the curd topping. Place in the refrigerator overnight to allow the curd topping to set.

In the Refrigerator to Cool and Set

Once it has set, you simply lift it out of the pan by lifting the aluminum foil from the pan.

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Cut into squares or triangles and plate. Dust with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. I garnished with raspberries – they complemented it perfectly 🙂

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Enjoy!

– Nicole

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