Compared with Fuyu, Hachiya are not user-friendly persimmons. Larger than Fuyu and more oblong, Hachiya persimmons need to get really soft—mushy, say—before that chalkiness disappears. What you’re left with is a soft, sweet pulp that tastes as if it were lightly infused with nutmeg. I bagged a few Hachiya and let them sit on the counter, and later in the refrigerator, until the pulp was soft enough to scoop out with a spoon.
Browning butter doesn't take too much time, but its nutty flavor adds dimension to spice cakes. You can brown the butter ahead of time and refrigerate it. Before using it, just gently warm it so it's liquid again. With its unapologetically generous amount of butter, this is a rich cake. It's so rich that it seems impossible that this cake could dry out, even if it was left on the counter for several days.
Brown Butter Persimmon Cake
Adapted from Suzanne Goin's A.O.C Cookbook
Makes 1 cake
3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) / 395 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 Hachiya persimmons
2 1/2 cups / 350 grams all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon / 5 grams baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons / 7 grams baking powder
3/4 teaspoon / 2 grams kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon / 1 gram cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon / .5 grams nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
1/4 cup / 60 grams whole-milk yogurt
1 teaspoon / 5 grams pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups / 280 grams granulated sugar
2 eggs, preferably extra large (110 grams)
Powdered sugar, for serving
Extra yogurt, for serving
In a pot (use one with a heavy bottom so the milk solids don’t burn), melt 1/4 cup/ 57 grams of the butter over medium-low heat and cook until the milk solids have fallen to the bottom of the pot and turned golden brown and fragrant like toasted nuts, about 5 minutes depending on how cold the butter is to start. Pour the butter into a heatproof bowl and let sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the butter has cooled but is still liquid.
Meanwhile, heat an oven to 350°F. Butter an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan or 10-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the paper.
Slice the green tops off the persimmons and scoop out the pulp. Put the pulp in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Measure out 1 cup / 260 grams.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the cooled browned butter, yogurt, vanilla, and persimmon pulp.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the remaining butter until relatively smooth, 30 seconds. Add the sugar and cream until the butter is light and aerated, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated, 30 seconds tops.
Add the flour mixture in 3 installments, mixing in half of the persimmon butter blend in between additions. Mix briefly until the batter comes together.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, then invert the pan onto a plate to unmold. Once cooled, dust the top with powdered sugar. If you like yogurt as much as I do, serve a spoonful over the top of each piece.