Casimiroa, Black Persimmon & Mabolo
The casimiroa (Casimiroa edulis) is native to the tropical highlands of Central and South America. Although a popular common name of the fruit is white sapote because of its white flesh, casimiroa is not in the sapote family. In Mexico casimiroa is also known as zapote blanco and abache.
The fruit was well known to the Aztecs. The leaves, bark and seeds contain the glucoside “casimirosine”, which lowers blood pressure. In large doses, glucoside acts as a sedative, and alleviates rheumatic pains. It has been reported that a tea produced from the leaves would induce sleep within an hour. I have found counting trees in an imaginary orchard as effective as drinking this green tea.
Reflecting the diversity of seedlings, numerous named varieties are propagated. Of these, several have desirable attributes for gardens and some may become useful in commercial planting.
Primarily a dessert fruit, casimiroa is very sweet (27% sugars), highly nutritious, and rich in vitamins, including A and C. The pulp is smooth and has no noticeable fibre.
Unfortunately, some varieties are bitter near the paper thin skin. To avoid the bitter pulp, the fruit may be thickly peeled, or soft fruit may be halved and scooped out, avoiding the pulp near the skin. Fruit size, seed to flesh ratio, taste and other characteristics vary greatly between varieties. Generally, fruit are 75 – 125mm in diameter.
In prepared dishes, casimiroa is frequently combined with milk to produce ice creams, milk shakes or pies. With added lemon or lime juice, the fruit makes a good jelly, and also sherbets. Casimiroa may also be dried as a fruit leather.
Colour on maturity ranges from dark green to yellow. These green maturing fruit lighten a shade when ready for harvest. Harvested fruit softens and turns yellowish within a few days. Fully tree-ripened casimiroa are attacked by insects. Indeed, this fruit requires spraying against fruit fly from six weeks prior to harvest. Growers not willing to maintain a spray schedule should not attempt to produce casimiroa, unless they are in a fruit fly free area.
Ripe fruit is quite perishable but it may be refrigerated. However, it is best to use fruit as soon as possible. Casimiroa may be frozen whole, as pieces or as a pulp. Taste is not noticeably affected, and after thawing it may be used like fresh fruit for most purposes.
The black persimmon (Diospyros digyna) is frequently called black sapote or whimsically “chocolate pudding fruit“. Native to Mexico, the black persimmon is a most unusual fruit. Many people enjoy the fruit plain, but the amazing versatility of black persimmon is revealed in prepared dishes. Perhaps lack of knowledge about the fruit’s possibilities is the reason why black persimmon is not more extensively cultivated in tropical regions.
Black persimmon are 60 -120mm in diameter. The fruit is round, but often flattened, and is very similar in shape to the persimmon and the mabolo. Mature or ripe black persimmon remains green. Black persimmons may be seedless, but commonly have up to five seeds. In Australia, the fruit is commercially available for most of the year, and many people have come to appreciate it. Try the mousse or the trifle recipes, and chances are that you will cherish the black persimmon.
Maturity is indicated when the calices surrounding the stem on the fruit lift. Another indication of maturity is a lightening of skin colour; skin of ripe fruit quickly darkens again. If fruit is allowed to ripen on the tree, it is likely to fall off. Since fully ripe fruit is very soft, the loss is complete. Mature harvested fruit should ripen in 7 days, although under cold conditions some may take longer. Occasionally, apparently mature fruit will not ripen after harvest. During ripening, changes of the fruit are dramatic: overnight the fruit turns dark green and later brown-black, and from rock hard to soft and mushy.
To open soft-ripe fruit, use a sharp knife and pierce the skin around the “equator”. Gently twist the two halves and pull the fruit apart. Use a pointed knife, to remove any seeds, complete with their skin envelope. The pulp may be spooned from the fruit half. Very soft fruit has a delicate skin, which may disintegrate during this operation. It is possible to freeze such fruit whole, and then briefly thaw the outside with running water. The fruit may then be scraped free of skin with a knife. Some love and others loathe eating this fruit plain, but with the addition of either citrus juice, milk, cream, or a drop of port, black persimmon becomes quite irresistible to most people.
Frozen whole fruit or pulp retain the subtle flavour for over six months, and frozen pulp is suitable for use in any recipe. Ripe fruit or pulp may be refrigerated for a few days, however, freezing is better for long term storage.
The mabolo (Diospyros discolor) is a close relative of the black persimmon and the (Japanese) persimmon (D. kaki). The mabolo, also known as velvet apple, is native to the Philippines and is uncommon elsewhere. Most seedling trees produce inferior fruit. Mabolo ripen in late summer, when they turn a beautiful bright red colour. The fruit is usually eaten fresh, complete with skin, after the hairy covering is rubbed off. A liking for this strange, some claim cheese-like, flavour is acquired. Good varieties are popular as a dessert fruit and for the preparation of various drinks.
|6 slices stale bread
40ml grated orange
or lemon peel
500ml peeled and
20ml lemon juice
500ml hot milk
3ml vanilla essence
|Discard crusts and cut bread slices into quarters.
Arrange 12 pieces covering the base of a buttered casserole dish.
Sprinkle with grated peel, add sliced casimiroa.
Sprinkle lemon juice over the fruit. Cover with the remaining bread.
Mix sugar, milk and vanilla. Heat in a saucepan until near boiling.
Cool slightly and then pour over the beaten eggs while stirring vigorously.
Pour custard into the casserole and leave for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle surface with a little sugar and place casserole into a baking dish with some warm water.
Bake at 180ºC for about 45 minutes.
The pudding should be firm and crusty on the surface.
250ml cream cheese
500ml casimiroa pulp
20ml grated lemon rind
50ml lime or lemon juice
|Pastry: Sift dry ingredients, rub in the butter.
Add a well beaten egg and mix well.
Knead dough on a floured board and divide into three.
Roll out two portions to cover the base and sides of a greased, 180 x 270mm loaf tin. Prick the base and sides with a fork and bake at 180ºC for 10 minutes. Leave to cool.
Filling: Separate eggs, set the whites aside.
Add all other ingredients to the yolks and beat for several minutes with an electric blender.
Beat egg whites until they are quite stiff and fold these into the mixture.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pastry shell.
Use the remaining dough to cut flat 12mm pastry strips. Arrange these in lattice fashion on top of the filling.
Return to the oven and bake for 40 minutes at 160ºC.
Cool in the tin.
Refrigerate before serving.
250ml mashed casimiroa
300ml whipped cream
|Soak gelatine in water, then heat over double boiler or in microwave oven.
Place mashed casimiroa pulp and sugar in a bowl and mix well.
Add dissolved gelatine.
Chill until thickened. Beat until smooth. Fold in whipped cream.
Pour in to a wetted mould and freeze.
The addition of other fruit may add colour.
|4 egg whites
250ml mashed casimiroa
10ml lemon juice
|Whip egg whites and salt until quite stiff.
Mix casimiroa pieces with lemon juice and sugar.
Fold fruit into egg white and transfer to a buttered casserole.
Bake at 180ºC for 40 minutes, until souffle is firm in the centre.
Serve as a dessert, hot or cold.
|500ml casimiroa slices
20ml brown sugar
250ml cottage cheese
5ml ground cinnamon
|Fry casimiroa slices over low heat in a pan with butter until browned on both sides. Arrange in a buttered baking dish.
Mix sugar, cheese, milk and cinnamon, and blend well.
Cover casimiroa slices.
Bake at 180ºC for 35 minutes. Some milk remains separate.
100ml icing sugar
80ml casimiroa pulp
3ml vanilla essence
120ml finely chopped
|Cream butter and icing sugar. Mix in fruit pulp, vanilla, and sifted dry ingredients; add nuts last.
Chill dough for 60 minutes, then shape 20mm diameter balls.
These are placed on an unprepared oven tray, and the balls are flattened with the bottom of a glass to about 8mm thickness. To avoid sticking, first dip glass in icing sugar.
Bake at 180ºC for 20 minutes.
The biscuits may be frozen for storage.
120ml chopped or
flaked macadamia nuts
3ml baking powder
500ml casimiroa pieces
|Set aside 40ml of sugar.
Combine the remaining sugar, flour, macadamia and baking powder in a bowl. Mix well.
Separately beat milk, egg and vanilla, then stir into the flour mixture.
Arrange casimiroa pieces in a buttered pie dish.
Pour batter over casimiroa, and sprinkle with the reserved sugar.
Bake at 180ºC for 30-35 minutes.
Serve warm or chilled with cream.
5ml vanilla essence
3 eggs &
3 egg yolks
|Lightly beat milk, vanilla and fruit pulp.
Gently warm mixture in saucepan.
Lightly beat eggs, yolks and sugar.
Pour milk mixture onto the egg mixture and stir.
Transfer in to a casserole dish and stand this in a dish of warm water.
Bake for 15 minutes at 180ºC.
|Use food processor with cutting blades to beat cottage cheese for several minutes, until quite smooth.
Add all other ingredients and blend.
Serve inside a papaya half, on top of fruit salad, or as a dessert with ice cream.
|20ml icing sugar
300ml whipping cream
30ml rum or brandy
1 baked pastry crust
|Crush and sieve icing sugar, and mix with fruit pulp.
Whip cream and fold it lightly into the fruit. Finally add rum, mix gently.
Transfer mousse to a serving bowl, and refrigerate.
Serve plain or decorate with cream rosettes.
The mousse may also be frozen for later use, and consumed frozen or thawed.
To make the pie: Disperse 5ml gelatine in 20ml water. Heat in a double boiler or microwave.
After cooling, stir gelatine into the fruit pulp.
Transfer to a pie crust. Chill.
|2 pkt jelly crystals
600ml whipped cream
80ml lemon juice
1 double, unfilled
150ml port wine
slivered almonds for topping
|Make up jelly with half of the recommended water, leave to set overnight and cut into cubes.
Blend cream and sugar, beat until thick, add 300ml of black persimmon pulp, lemon juice and mix gently.
Use a 250mm serving bowl, cover base with half the sponge cubes, and sprinkle with half the port.
Spread this with half of the remaining black persimmon pulp, and follow with half of the jelly cubes.
Cover with a layer of black persimmon cream.
Repeat layering, but retain remaining jelly cubes. Top off with a sprinkling of slivered almonds and the remaining jelly cubes.
|black persimmon fruit
|Halve black persimmon and remove seeds with envelopes, leaving most of the pulp and a cavity.
Fill cavity with grated coconut and pile up.
Add drop of honey to coconut if desired.
The contrasting textures of the major ingredients compliment each other well.
|350ml SR flour
or mixed fruit
50ml skim milk
|Mix all ingredients well. Place spoonfuls onto a lined baking tray.
Bake at 180ºC for 12 minutes.
Alternatively, microwave 10 small drops for 120-150 seconds, then brown under griller or toaster.
These drops remain soft. Currants are required for sweetening the fruit drops.
|1000ml SR flour
3ml sodium bicarbonate
50ml powdered milk
|Combine all dry ingredients in a mixer and mix for one minute.
Add black persimmon pulp, eggs and molasses and mix for until just blended.
Scrape mix into a lined bread loaf tin, about 220mm x 150mm.
Bake at 180ºC for 50-60 minutes.
Flavour is enhanced by storing for a day or two.
|50ml icing sugar
40ml rum or brandy
|Combine sugar and fruit pulp, add sufficient spirit to give topping a good pouring consistency.
Serve with ice cream or on wafer biscuits.
180ml apple juice
125ml tin chilled
skim evaporated milk
2 egg whites
500ml SR flour
|Combine fruit pulp, fruit juice, skim milk and egg whites.
Beat until thick and fluffy.
Fold in flour and spice.
Stir minimally to combine.
Bake in a baking paper lined 200 x 250mm dish, at 180ºC for 20-25 minutes.
Alternatively, microwave on full power for 5 minutes.
|2 crumb crusts
125ml chopped raisins
25ml lemon juice
300ml sour cream
rind of a lemon
250g creamed cheese
250ml black persimmon pulp
1 carambola to decorate
|Chop raisins and soak in rum.
Add gelatine to water and heat in double boiler or microwave to dissolve.
Combine all ingredients, except carambola, fold in the rum and raisins last.
Turn into two baked tart or crumb crusts and chill well.
Decorate with thinly sliced, lightly fried or microwaved carambola.
Cottage cheese may be substituted. Blend cottage cheese and yoghurt for 5 minutes, until smooth.
|250ml black persimmon pulp
125ml sour cream
125ml grated coconut
|Blend all ingredients and chill before serving.|
|250ml wholemeal flour
20ml baking powder
250ml black persimmon pulp
|Mix all dry ingredients.
Add milk and mix gently.
Fold in black persimmon pulp.
Bake in greased and floured muffin trays at 180ºC for 25 minutes.
half a can pie apple
350ml rolled oats
40ml rice bran
60ml unprocessed bran
50ml SR wholemeal flour
5ml milk powder
125ml apple juice
|Combine black persimmon pulp, apple and vanilla, and pour into two pie dishes. Combine oats, brans, flour, powdered milk, currants with apple juice.
If mixture is too dry, add a little more apple juice. Mixture should be like a biscuit mixture.
Spread over black persimmon and apple mix
Bake crumble at 220ºC for 20 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Alternatively, cook for 5 minutes on full power in a microwave oven and brown for about 6 minutes under a griller.
250ml rolled oats
60ml unprocessed bran
apple juice to combine
1 tin of unsweetened
3 egg whites
1ml cream of tartar
|Combine ingredients for base and press into a pie dish.
Cook for 4 minutes, using full power in a microwave oven.
For filling combine half of the apple with fruit pulp and vanilla, and turn into the pie shell.
Prepare meringue by beating the egg whites with tartar until thick and fluffy.
Puree the remaining apples, and add to the egg white mixture.
Beat again and fold in arrowroot.
Spoon the meringue over the pie.
Bake at 180ºC until golden brown, or cook in a microwave oven using full power for 5 minutes, then place under a griller to brown.