It is time to put away the array of gourds spayed out on the dining table; turkeys made from popsicle sticks and pilgrim high hats, and swap them out for clementines studded with cloves, cutout reindeer and cotton ball beards. Yikes, it is not even December 1st, though we have been pushed to start promoting the season earlier and earlier. It is like the campaign season – it goes on way too long. For me, mid-December is the time I start feeling the holiday spirit and until then I try to keep my head down and avoid the frantic need to bargain shop for no reason, save the thrill of the deal.
To occupy my attention for the next few weeks I will be baking, and storing away cookies and cakes that will honor holiday get-togethers and fill gift boxes when a tip envelope needs to be sealed with a sweet. I guess, the truth of the matter is I am a last minute shopper for gifts, that person wandering the streets trying to figure what to buy. Perhaps that is why I am spending my time baking – it is far less panic-attack inducing for me. I understand what can be done in advance and how to pleasure people with just a bite – though ask my partner, and he’ll tell you I bite too hard!
Persimmon Cake – yields 9-inch cake
4-ounces unsalted butter
1-cup dark brown sugar or jaggery
1/8-teaspoon pineapple extract
1/8-teaspoon orange blossom water
2-teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2-cup pureed persimmon (from one Fuyu variety – unpeeled)
½-cup pureed apple (from one small – unpeeled)
½-cup chopped walnuts
Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.
In a standing mixer, or with a handheld mixer, blend the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy. Then add the eggs one at a time, so that each one is completely mixed in before adding the next one. Then mix in the pineapple and orange blossom flavoring.
In a bowl stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the flour in to the butter mixture, and stir to combine. Then add the cream and fruit puree, mixing to thoroughly incorporate. Mix in the remaining flour then stir in the walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack. After it cools invert on to the cool rack to cook completely. Serve with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.