late autumn is sweetened by kaki fruit (japanese persimmom), an interesting fruit, of asian origin, which now is spread worldwide.
grown in china for over 2000 years, the tree of kaki (kaki dyospyros) with elegant cream-yellow or white flowers is a symbol of longevity, a spectacle of color and flavor. when i first saw a kaki tree flourished (though i did not know that at that time), i felt instantly attracted by the magical flowers. the tree full of flowers sheltered a nest of happy birds that delighted us singing. the whole picture, those large and soft petals, the birds' songs, the may clear sky, the warm gentle energy of the sun that woke the nature up made me understand why "zen" cannot be explained in words. but certainly, you can feel what "zen" means contemplating a kaki tree in a bright day of may... :)
later, i discovered the fruits, which i can only say about that caress the senses. they're just ... divine!
kaki fruits are rich in antioxidants and natural tannins, so are very healthy. however, the tannin concentration is very high in unripe fruits; their taste is strongly astringent, unpleasant and unfit for consumption. so, avoid unripe fruits. you will be disappointed by them, unless you let them ripen.
but when they are very ripe (soft to the touch, heavy), the kaki fruit becomes like a jelly, juicy, soft, sweet, perfumed ... a dream.
it is best to eat raw fruits (pulp only, without skin) in different combinations or salads, to receive full benefits of this fruit, considered by the chinese people a real medicine for stomach diseases, hypertension, tumors, various infections. the high concentration of beta-carotene (precursor of vitamin a) has an important role in boosting immunity, that's why asians have a habit of offering persimmom fruits.
kaki fruits have an orange to red color, depending on variety, and a slightly sweet-sour flavor, a combination of apricot, peach and melon. it’s worth trying. if you buy fruits that are not ripe, leave them for a few days to ripen, wrapped in paper.
today we will enjoy together an italian desert made with kaki fruits (grown even in italy, because i said today that the tree is grown almost everywhere). we will serve the delicious fruits with fresh ricotta cream, with a delicate touch of orange honey and some pinoli (pine nuts) for a crunchy contrast.
mix ricotta (100 gr) with a tablespoon of honey.
this is how the ripe fruits look like. if you press the fruits with your finger you should feel a very soft skin. wash the fruits, cut in two and remove the pulp with a spoon. it can be immediately removed because they are very ripe and juicy.
arrange the cups, alternating layers of ricotta cream and khaki halves.
sprinkle with a little honey and decorated with pinoli.
a divine dessert...