Spiced Wine Poached Persimmon Recipe (and food photography musing)

I’ve only been blogging since April and I’ll admit, my photography skills have improved a lot. I also notice how other bloggers have really stepped up their game produce stunning, professional quality food photography.

But do you ever want to put the camera down and just eat? Not let the food get cold? Not test your guests’ patience?

Or how about submitting your best effort to Tastespotting or Food Gawker, only to be rejected because they don’t meet their exclusive standards? Not focused, too saturated, under-exposed…

(by the way… are they operated by the same people? They always choose the same photos I submit…)

My response: Relax with the camera once in a while.

These are not your conventional, glossy cover shots. There isn’t food styling, lighting, or white balance adjustment involved.

This dessert is ooey, drippy and almost gory, but in my eyes, very pretty.

It doesn’t hurt that it’s also very tasty.

If you’re curious, I will be submitting these photos for kicks. I’ll update you on how it goes.

UPDATE: Whoa. These photos were accepted at Tastespotting and Foodgawker. I’ll say.

Spiced Wine Poached Persimmon


  • 2 persimmons
  • 1/2 bottle red wine
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • handful of cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • peel of 1 lemon
  • 1 slice of ginger
  • Mint leaves


  • Score the persimmon all the way around and stud it with some cloves.
  • In a small saucepan, bring all the other ingredients to a boil. Lower the heat down to simmer, then gently poach the persimmon for 15 minutes. If there isn’t enough liquid to cover the fruit entirely, then turn it upside down midway through.
  • Remove the persimmon, drain, and place onto the serving plate.
  • Turn the heat to high, remove the spices, and reduce the poaching liquid to a thick syrup. This will take around 10 minutes.

  • Drizzle the syrup around the persimmon, garnish with mint leaves, and serve with ice cream or yogurt.
  • Warn your guests not to eat the cloves :)

  1. December 10, 2009 by Natasha - 5 Star Foodie

    It looks and sounds incredible, what a great idea for a dessert!

  2. December 10, 2009 by Alta (Tasty Eats At Home)

    I hear ya on the photography thing. My photography has improved a lot – and I thought I had it “down” a few months ago, when it seemed like nearly every photo was approved by FG and TS, and now, I’m being rejected again. I think it has something to do with lighting, I’m back to using no natural light. Winter screws you that way! That being said, I like these photos! You’re a natural. And this recipe sounds delicious.

  3. December 10, 2009 by Nastassia Johnson

    I feel iike i have been on the same journey (and coincidentally since April as well) , but i have yet to submit to Tastespotting. I look back at my old pics and they are embarrasing, the new ones aren’t perfect but a big improvement. Do you have a fancy zillion pixel camera or is it all lighting?

  4. December 10, 2009 by Cookin' Canuck

    Your photos are always wonderful! I have recently been cooking with persimmons and have fallen in love with the flavour. This looks like a beautiful way to take advantage of this delicious fruit.

  5. December 10, 2009 by The Local Cook

    I submit to different food photo sites, and they seem to all like different ones. Weird!

  6. December 10, 2009 by Patricia

    I think your photos are amazing. I don’t do the greatest photo taking! My recipes are sometimes very simple and budget friendly.
    But it is what it is and I enjoy doing it.
    You’ve made your food look wonderful…
    Keep up the good work.

  7. December 10, 2009 by Jen

    I totally hear you on the photo submission thing! I’ve only been seriously blogging since this past summer, and I do agree that constant practice does help photography a lot! I think your pictures are really beautiful. :) As for photo submission, for me, TS and FG are not always consistent with each other. I get more stuff accepted on FG in general, although once in a blue moon it will be reversed. :)

    In response to Alta’s comment, I agree that natural lighting is the best way to take pictures. Having said that, using a tripod (or a wide aperture lens and/or high ISO) and doing a white balance on those indoor yellow-y pictures can make a big difference! I take almost all my pictures indoors because the sun sets at 4:30pm in Boston. :(

  8. December 10, 2009 by jenn (Bread + Butter)

    Fantastic. I’ve got a couple of persimmons right now. You’ve just inspired me in what I can do with them.

  9. December 10, 2009 by Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite

    I soooo agree about putting down the camera once in a while. So important. WOW – you’ve only been blogging since April – me, since May but sooooo far behind the quality of your blog! I got me some catching up to do!

  10. December 10, 2009 by Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

    Your photos are beautiful – no matter what foodgawker or tastespotting says. I drove through Napa yesterday and could not believe the number of persimmon trees that still have hundreds of fruits still hanging on them. My guess is that those are not going to get picked. What a shame, if they only knew about this recipe, they’d have all of those persimmons off the tree.

  11. December 10, 2009 by wasabi prime

    Oh my… this dessert looks like it should be served in a room bedecked with velvet and gilded treasures, presented on a plate sitting atop a silken pillow. So beautiful! And yes, I agree with the food photography notes. I feel like I had to step up my game bigtime to even dare consider myself a food blogger, and have been saving my pennies to get a “grown up” camera, as I struggle with my little point-and-shoot in low lighting situations. I swear, there could be a whole symposium over bloggers’ waltz with the camera and sites like Tastespotting/Food Gawker.

  12. December 10, 2009 by Nevis

    I like your photos better than most of the ones on those sites!

  13. December 10, 2009 by Heidi

    This looks like a great way to use persimmons – an ingredient I’ve never really known what to do with (other than just eating it out of hand!).

    Also, the photos are fantastic!

  14. December 10, 2009 by Fran

    I hear you loud and clear. It’s so frustrating to see rejection after rejection and then look at the shots they do accept by others and think — come on, my photo looked at least as good as that one.

    Your photos always look great to me. I’ve been doing this for over 2 years and wonder if I’ll ever be able to cook without my camera in one hand. I haven’t gotten to the point of taking shots with others around, but it kills me to hold back. :)

  15. December 10, 2009 by Ellie

    Love the plating. What a great way to present your food. Great photogrpahs.

  16. December 11, 2009 by Kelly

    It seems like everytime I think I have the food photography down I have an afternoon where i just can’t take a great photo. But there are definitely times when I just want to eat. I guess it’s why I am most likely to feature food I make just for myself rather than things for a party. I haven’t had the balls to submit my photos yet but hopefully after taking a photography seminar I will.

  17. December 11, 2009 by Lea Ann

    Great post and beautiful pictures. I’m very frustrated with Tastespotting, I’ve yet to have a photo accepted. I admit, some should not have been, but there were a couple that I thought were very good. ;-/ I’m going to relax with the camera! and eat. :-)

  18. December 11, 2009 by

    I love these pictures. What camera do you use?

  19. December 11, 2009 by Wizzythestick

    Inspiring post. So many of my own pictures don’t make it to my blog. I get a bit of photo envy when I see the technical skill of other blog photos. I definitely do need to relax. Never bothered trying to submit to tastespotting or foodgawker maybe I’ll give it a try just for fun.

  20. December 12, 2009 by deana@lostpastremembered

    I have been doing this 1 month… I don’t know what TS & FG want… it took 15 submissions to get on FG but TS took me on after the first few!!!
    I love those dark mysterious photos like your persimmons… gorgeous. I think TS & FG are allergic to them. Everyone advises that you use natural light. I live in an Edwardian tomb! I get natural light for about an hour in the living room in the winter which is 100 feet from the kitchen. I got a light box!

    it’s all subjective in the end.

    So, take the pictures for yourself. Don’t try to guess someone else’s taste. The more you practice, the more you will own the camera.

    I do what I can and one day hope to find my style and do well by it!
    Great post… great comments!

  21. December 12, 2009 by Allison

    I love persimmons and this looks amazing! what a great recipe!

  22. December 12, 2009 by Unplanned Cooking

    Love it! I am trying so hard to take better food pictures. Because you are right; most food blog photos are fantastic! I’d love to submit to tastespotting/foodgawker, but my skills aren’t quite there yet. I don’t have lighting down. One day!

  23. December 12, 2009 by Simone (junglefrog)

    I so know what you mean on the whole photography thing; it’s even gotten to the point where I sometimes make the meal in the afternoon only to reheat it at night, but at least I have been able to take some good shots in daylight. Now how sad is that!
    I actually think your persimmons look quite good so I’d be curious to find out if they get approved!

  24. December 13, 2009 by Jessica

    I still need lots and lots of practice with my food photography. I need to learn more about styling and presenting my dishes. I also want to learn more about lighting as well.

    That dessert looks so luscious!

  25. December 13, 2009 by Andrea

    Your photo’s are always great- I need to learn how to use our camera…! Well I do use a little bit, lol! I never remember it though until ‘after’ the meal!

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