Persimmon, Kaffir Lime, Lemongrass and Purple Basil Sorbet

This original recipe was two years in the making. I spoke before about process, brainstorming and sensations inspiring creativity, whether roaming about the farmers markets or insomniac 2am late nights. I spoke of process in my Lemondrop Melon Limonana Sorbet post which I feel draws many parallels to this one, beyond the mere fact that both are sorbets. Those of you who know me for a couple of years might remember this persimmon photo below taken on December 4, 2009 with my point and shoot camera. Those of you who are new to me, you get a glimpse of it as it is part of my site's header.
At the time, winter of 2009, my intention was to make persimmon creme brulee as I love anything custard. With Meyer Lemon and Orange confetti and cardamon speckled creme brulees published approximately around the same time, I felt it redundant and predictable to publish a persimmon one. Two winters have gone by. Meanwhile my son, who was a high schooler at the time, is now a college student We, empty nesters.

Recently we've had Jonathan's dad in DC for a conference, so we met up with him a couple of times for dinners out, but it opened the floodgates and we found ourselves for a stretch of a couple of weeks exploring different restaurants about town. Then we tire, and want to retreat to our cocoon yet again till the next time. On our whirlwind exploring restaurants in DC we found ourselves ordering sorbet samplers to share as desserts. The Yuzu, strawberry with black pepper, exotic and myriad of other flavors inspired me further to arrive at this seasonal persimmon and Kaffir lime combination.
If Meyer lemons were all the rage the last couple of years, I am starting a new Kaffir limes trend. Many are familiar with Kaffir lime leaves in Southeast Asian cooking but not as familiar with the wrinkly, aromatic lime itself indigenous to the same region. The fruit is referred to in Indonesia as a medicine citrus. Rind and juice are used for medicinal purposes but the rind is mostly used in cooking. The juice is considered too acidic for cooking, though I find it more fruity in fragrance and taste while I find regular limes to be more acidic. Maybe the pairing of the sweet persimmon struck the right balance?! It is also used for washing hair and clothing in Thailand. Kaffir limes can be found in Asian markets and this time I was giddy with excitement when I spotted them at Whole Foods. They were California grown.
The Japanese persimmon, native to China, is the most cultivated variety in the world. The variety was later cultivated in other places in Asia and then made its way to California and southern Europe in the 1800s and to Brazil in 1890. The Japanese variety Hachiya is best consumed ripe as it is high in tannins and astringent when unripe. The Israeli bred Sharon fruit is ripened on the trees, is seedless and sweet, and is believed to help in avoiding heart attacks brought on by the thickening of the arteries' walls. The Date Plum, native to Southwest Asia and Southeast Europe, was known by the Greeks as 'the fruit of the gods', 'nature's candy' and 'fire of Zeus'. The American persimmon, native to eastern US, is higher in vitamins and calcium as opposed to the Japanese persimmon. The Mexican variety, the black persimmon, with green skin and white flesh turns black when ripe. The Filipino variety, which is also native to China, is known as the velvet apple, Mabolo or Shizi (in China) or Korean apple. The Fuyu is another variety known in the US which falls under the non astringent category. 
Persimmon, Kaffir Lime, Lemongrass and Purple Basil Sorbet

4 persimmons
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 4 Kaffir limes (or juice of 1 regular lime or 2 key limes)
4 purple or Thai basil leaves
1 lemongrass stalk, white part sliced length wise into half


Place persimmons in a Ziploc bag and freeze over night. Next morning take out of freezer and let thaw. Remove leaves. Liquify in a blender, add the Kaffir lime juice and run through a strainer.

In a small sauce pan add the strained persimmons and 1/2 cup sugar. On low/medium heat, mix until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool. Add the lemongrass and purple/Thai basil leaves and let steep refrigerated overnight.

Next morning discard the lemongrass and basil leaves and churn according to manufacturer's directions for about 20 minutes and freeze for at least a few hours before serving.

*Disclaimer: Research and information for this post was done online. Consuming large quantities or unripened persimmons can cause some medical issues. If you have medical questions you should consult a professional in the medical field.