Persimmon & Apple Crisp with Cinnamon Streusel

January 6, 2022

If you are a little skeptical about working with a new fruit, persimmons are for you. This Persimmon Apple Crisp, which features the forgiving fuyu variety paired with crisp, tart apples, is simple and tasty, especially topped with a fragrant cinnamon streusel.

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Persimmons are a really interesting fruit for a couple reasons, but the main draw of them for me is that they ripen in the late fall and tend to be available even into the early winter. There aren’t a lot of fruits like that here in Upstate NY. The fuyu variety that we use here is also easy to work with, since it can be used while firm and also as it ripens and softens.

The flavor of the fruit is somewhat pear-like, with subtle undertones of cinnamon or date. That’s why it pairs nicely with apples and the cinnamon-forward streusel in this crisp. You can use fuyu persimmons alongside apples as we do here, or in place of them in other recipes for a fun twist.

What You Need to Get Started

You can easily find all of the ingredients for this persimmon apple crisp at your grocery store:

Let’s Make Persimmon Apple Crisp

Fruit bakes tend to be one of my go-to desserts when I’m looking for something simple and reliable and have a lot of fruit to use. It’s pretty tough to mess up a crisp or crumble, since the streusel topping and even the fruit filling are pretty flexible.

In this recipe, I decided to feature seasonal fuyu persimmons alongside a late-season apple variety that cellars well. I love being able to eat farm-picked apples well into the winter months by keeping Granny Smiths and other hardy varieties.

Be sure you don’t buy hachiya persimmons to use in this dish. These are the larger ones that have an acorn-like shape. They are very astringent until fully ripe and nearly mushy. If you do have some of those, make thumbprint cookies instead! Fuyu persimmons are smaller and look a bit like a squat, bright orange tomato.

I like to cut both my apples and persimmons the same way. Start by slicing off one side, just outside the core. Then, lay the flat side down on the cutting board and continue slicing the edges off, leaving just a square core. Once you have these large chunks, simply slice each into quarter-inch-thick pieces.

Once your fruit is prepared, it’s a good time to preheat your oven and double check that there is a rack just above the center, in the top half of the oven. Then grab your well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron pan and place it on the stove. The entire crisp will be prepared in this skillet.

Begin by melting butter over medium-high heat. Once it has just melted but hasn’t started crackling and popping yet, mix in the brown sugar and stir to combine it all together. It should create a thick, syrupy sauce that will nicely coat the fruit.

Add all of the sliced fruit, both apples and persimmons, into the pan. Stir gently, allowing the slices to be coated in the butter and sugar mixture. Then, cover the pan (a universal pot lid works great for this) and allow it to cook without stirring for five minutes. This will begin to soften the fruit.

Carefully uncover the pan, as it will release some steam. At this point, reduce the heat on your stove down to low, and mix in the cinnamon and cloves. The little bit of extra cinnamon helps accentuate what’s in the streusel, and cloves are one of my favorite ways to add a little extra depth of flavor.

Allow the fruit to cook another five minutes, this time stirring occasionally until everything is nice and tender, and the spices are fragrant. Then, turn off the heat and set the pan aside until you are ready with the streusel.

How to Finish Persimmon Apple Crisp

You can start working on the cinnamon streusel topping while the fruit is cooking in the cast-iron pan for that first five minutes. Then, finish it up while the filling is on its last step, so everything is ready at the same time.

Since this is a crisp, the streusel topping contains oats. If there were no oats, then it would be a crumble. The name probably comes from the way oats crisp up once baked, but you can call it whatever you want when serving it. It will still be delicious. If you want to learn more about the different types of fruit bakes, I have a guide for that.

Start by combining together all the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. This streusel is one of my simpler ones, using just flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and a single spice: cinnamon. I really wanted to focus on that warm and fragrant flavor from cinnamon without adding too much else to it.

Whisk everything together until it’s nice and uniform, and then you’ll be adding the butter. When it comes to melting butter, I just place it in the microwave for short increments and keep an eye on it. You can take it out when it’s mostly melted, and then give the dish a gentle swirl to help any larger bits melt down.

Pour the butter into the flour and oat mixture. Then get in there and get it all combined. You can use a spoon or flexible spatula to start stirring, but I generally find with streusels that I prefer to switch to my hands at some point.

It’s just easier to really get the dry ingredients fully coated and check the texture of the streusel with your fingers. You’ll know it’s ready when there are no large pockets of flour, and a piece will hold together when gently pressed between two fingers.

Grab your cast-iron pan with the fruit, and start covering it with the streusel, crumbling pieces as you add them on top of the cooked apples and persimmons. You will want to cover the whole pan fairly evenly to start. And you’ll have plenty of streusel to do so.

Then, use a spatula to gently turn over some parts of the crisp, exposing the fruit on top of the streusel, and allowing some of the oats and cinnamon to mix in with the filling. Don’t stir it in fully, though, just enough to have some pretty apple and persimmon slices peeking through.

Bake the crisp for ten minutes. It doesn’t need a ton of time, since the fruit filling was already cooked on the stove. It’s just enough for the streusel to brown up and dry out slightly, making it nice and crisp. Let the finished persimmon and apple crisp cool for about five minutes on a trivet before scooping out servings.

To prepare this crisp in advance, allow it to cool, then cover tightly with plastic wrap. You can store it at room temperature for about a day or in the fridge for a few days. Heat up individual portions in the microwave to serve.

Warm and spicy Persimmon Apple Crisp is the perfect choice for a winter brunch or dessert. Delicious and versatile!

How to Serve Persimmon Apple Crisp

This crisp is the perfect way to start a chilly winter morning! The warm fruit and fragrant cinnamon lend themselves wonderfully to a breakfast watching dancing flurries out the window while you snuggle up with a bowl of crisp and a warm honey chestnut cafe au lait.

You can also add a dollop of whipped cream, and then make it part of a larger brunch spread. Try complementing the cinnamon flavor with a big gooey batch of multigrain cocoa cinnamon rolls. For drinks, serve chai white hot chocolates or hard apple cider sangria.

Or add a scoop of ice cream (like this rich and creamy decaf coffee variety) and make it a dessert. You could serve it alongside persimmon thumbprint cookies, which are made with the other type of persimmon, hachiya, for a fun array.

More Apple Recipes to Try

*Also uses your cast-iron skillet!

Persimmon Apple Crisp with Cinnamon Streusel

A simple winter fruit bake, featuring fresh fuyu persimmons and Granny Smith apples, topped with cinnamon oat streusel.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 scoops
Calories: 301kcal

Ingredients

Persimmon Apple Filling

  • 2 Cups Apples cut into ¼-inch slices, a hard tart variety like Granny Smith
  • 2 Cups Fuyu Persimmons cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp Ground Cloves

Cinnamon Streusel Crisp Topping

  • 1 Cup All-purpose flour
  • Cup Oats
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 6 Tbsp Butter melted and cooled slightly, if using salted butter, omit the salt above

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the top half.
  • In a well-seasoned 10-inch cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Once melted, mix in the brown sugar and stir to combine.
  • Add in the fruit, gently stirring to coat it in the butter and sugar mixture. Cover, and let cook 5 minutes, until the fruit has begun to soften.
  • Uncover and lower the heat to medium-low. Mix in the cinnamon, and cloves. Then allow the fruit to cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender.
  • While the fruit is cooking, prepare the streusel: combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.
  • Add in the melted butter and stir to thoroughly coat the dry ingredients until you have crumbly pieces that hold together when gently pressed, and no large flour pockets. It can be easier to use your hands to mix this if utensils aren't doing the job.
  • Crumble the streusel over the fruit in the cast iron pan. Use a spatula to gently flip over some sections, so fruit is on top in sporadic places, but don't fully mix the streusel into the fruit.
  • Bake uncovered for 10 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the streusel appears to have somewhat dried out. Let the crisp cool in the pan on a trivet for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Make ahead tip: Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 1 day or in the fridge for 3-4 days. Warm individual portions in the microwave to serve.
  • Choosing fruit: 
    • Do not use hachiya persimmons in this dish. These are the larger ones that have an acorn-like shape. They are very astringent until fully ripe and soft. Fuyu persimmons are smaller and look a bit like a bright orange tomato. 
    • The best apples for this recipe are sturdy late-season varieties that hold their shape well. Granny Smiths are your best option, but EverCrisp will also work, and be slightly sweeter.
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