Photo: Ajna Jai / Contributor
We recently celebrated my youngest son Noah's 21st birthday. A picky eater his entire life, he had already requested exactly what he wanted me to cook for dinner — but regarding dessert, he did not say much.
Claiming not to have a sweet tooth, over the years I’ve seen him shy away from dessert after dessert, both at the restaurant and at home. However, I had also witnessed him devouring more mainstream sweets. I knew I had to keep it simple to win him over, since he does not like strong complex flavors. I settled on a simple trifle, one of my childhood favorite desserts.
If my mother entertained in the summer, meals always ended with trifles — sometimes decadent layered concoctions with sponge cake soaked in syrups, homemade custard, fresh fruits and fresh cream; other times hastily thrown together trifles using what she could muster from her refrigerator and fruit vendors. Mango puree was an essential ingredient, and seeing the plethora of persimmons around us in Houston right now, I decided to use them instead.
The common astringent persimmon varieties, such as Hachiya or Jiro, can be ripened to a point where the inside pulp becomes soft and can be squeezed out of the fruit. The pulp is a gorgeous, almost neon orange, lightly fragrant, incredibly sweet, creamy and flavorful. Keep in mind that the Fuyu variety is better for slicing than for using as pulp.