Sharon fruit are also known as persimmons. Personally I think that persimmon sounds a lot more exotic than sharon fruit (perhaps because I’m originally from Essex), but for some reason supermarkets always label them up as the latter.
Anyway, whenever I see sharon fruit in the supermarket, they have usually been plonked in the heavily discounted, about-to-go-off section of the fruit and veg aisle. People don’t know what to do with them. They are funny-looking and the packaging is no help. In Morrisons, for example, the sharon fruit wrapper says:
Adds colour to fruit salads.
If that isn’t a cop-out, I don’t know what is.
On my latest trip to the supermarket, sharon fruit had been reduced to 9p for four and I came home with eight of them. Then I dithered until the sharon fruits’ leaves began turning brown and I HATE FOOD WASTE, even if it’s to the tune of 18p, so something had to be done.
I found a great sharon fruit recipe on All Recipes UK. It matched my criteria (quick, simple, tasty) perfectly. The original recipe is for sharon fruit slices. I don’t have a deep baking tray, so I baked my amended version in a round cake tin and have renamed it persimmon cake. Win!
My Favourite Sharon Fruit Recipe, AKA Persimmon Cake
6 sharon fruit, chopped into large chunks
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 egg, beaten
200g caster sugar
120ml vegetable oil
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground or crushed cloves
115g walnuts, chopped
1. Simmer the sharon fruit for 10 minutes in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid over low heat. Keep stirring, to prevent burning. Allow the mixture to cool a little, then puree it in a food processor. It should look something like this:
Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 180⁰C / Gas Mark 4. Grease or line a medium-sized cake tin. (The one I used was 22cm diameter.)
3. Add the beaten egg, caster sugar, vegetable oil and raisins to a bowl and mix. Don’t be alarmed by the amount of vegetable oil – 120ml is loads! But the finished cake will be moist, rather than oily.
4. Add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves to a large bowl and mix. Add the sharon fruit. Add the egg mixture. Add the walnuts. Stir thoroughly.
5. Add the mixture to the cake tin, and bake for 20-25 minutes. Done.
I should have taken a picture of the finished cake, but I didn’t. To be honest it isn’t amazing to look at – it’s a brown cake – but you can always gussie it up with icing or a sugar and lemon glaze, should you be so minded.
You are supposed to wait for it to cool. However if, like me, you are impatient, I recommend eating it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The sharon fruit add colour and a distinctive taste to this cake. This isn’t a sweet or gooey concoction: with the raisins, sharon fruit and oil, it’s very Claudia Roden.