Saturday, December 1, 2007


Persimmons are a quintessential fruit of the cooler months. Its color, a brunt orange, is perfectly matched to the floral displays adorning a table-scape. Though there are two main varieties found throughout the markets in the United States and they are complete opposites.

The Hachiya is a large teardrop shape that must be eaten when extremely soft or the tannins contained with this one will remind one of an eraser clouded with chalk. It has a very gelatinous mouth feel, and this is the persimmon I like to use when making bread puddings, jams, or tapioca pudding.

It is very easy to extract the pulp from this one for it over-ripe nature when ready just requires a squeeze, and the seeds are easily found to boot.

Then at the other end of the spectrum is the Fuyu variety the is a squat crab-apple like figure that is eaten hard is and is not nearly as juicy as it larger relative. For me these are snacking persimmons, or if I am making a chutney. When I cook this version I am in the habit of peeling them for it is a bit tough.

Sweet Potato Soufflé - yields 8 servings
3 1/2 pounds of Sweet Potatoes (or yams) - peeled and diced
2 1/2 cups Persimmon Puree - approx. 3 ripe fruits (skin and seeds discarded)
1/4 cup Thyme leaves - chopped
1 teaspoon orange zest - minced
1 1/2 tablespoons Curry Powder
1 teaspoon White Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 tablespoon Honey
1 Orange - juiced
1 tablespoon Salt
4 Egg Whites - beaten to stiff peaks

Pre heat the oven to 275 degrees.

Cook the sweet potatoes in boiling water till soft. While they are still warm mash the potatoes into a smooth mass. Place the potatoes on a baking tray in the oven for 15 minutes to dry them out a bit. In a large bowl thoroughly combine the sweet potato, persimmon puree, thyme,zest, curry powder, cayenne, pepper honey, orange juice and salt together. Gently fold in the egg whites until the whites are completely incorporated. Place in a 2 quart soufflé or casserole dish and bake for 40 minutes. Serve immediately.

Persimmon Bread Pudding - serves 6

2 Eggs
5 Egg Yolks
1 cup Persimmon Puree
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 cup Sugar
1 Vanilla Bean - split in half
2 cups Milk
2 cups Cream
8 croissants (or any sweet bread) - sliced into 1/4" pieces

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the eggs, yolks, sugar, persimmon puree and nutmeg to together until well combined. Scald the milk and cream with the vanilla. Whisk in a small amount of the milk mixture into the eggs. Then once the eggs feel warm, add the remaining milk. Strain the egg/milk mixture through a fine sieve. In a 12 inch long bread loaf pan place a single layer of the croissant, and pour over a small amount of the egg/milk mixture. Repeat this procedure until the pan is full. You should lightly push down on the layers to make sure the pudding is compressed and the croissant is completely soaked. Cove the pan with aluminum foil put the loaf pan in a water bath, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. It is done when a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the water bath. Then un-mold from the pan, and serve slices with a dollop of whipped cream or creme fraiche.

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