Results tagged persimmon from David Lebovitz

Persimmon Margaritas

Persimmon margarita

A few years ago, I had a major emergency. To you it might not seem like one, but it was springtime and I was finishing a book and needed to retest the recipe for Persimmon Cake because I wanted to give it one last go before it went to the printer. Persimmons are fall fruits and it’s impossible to find them outside of their season. And as much as I searched and searched and searched, there were none to be found.

Persimmon margaritas

So I started keeping an emergency bag of persimmon puree in my freezer at all times. I don’t know why, because I haven’t had a persimmon emergency since them (but heck, ya never know!) But when I pulled open my freezer lately and saw that it had become a frightening mélange of plastic bags whose labels had fallen off, ice cubes that had landed in the back of the shelves (with some misc. crumbs) – and – of course – just out of arms reach, scraps of things like tomato paste and bacon cubes, bits and pieces of cakes (I think) and pâté (I think), and bread ends, (probably) I decided to put an end to the madness once and for all, and do a massive clean-out.

Persimmon margaritas

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Holiday Recipes

snowman cake

In my recent winter newsletter, I sent out a list of some of my favorite recipes that are great candidates for the holidays. Here I compiled more recipes from the site for sweets and treats that I hope will make your holidays a little happier.

Nibbles & Drinks

The Best Holiday Nut and Pretzel Mix: This it the best snack I know of to go with festive drinks. I can’t get enough of it. Make this for your next cocktail gathering!

Spritz: Want a holiday drink that’s lighter than a cocktail, and more festive? Try pouring a Spritz (or two) this year for guests.

Roasted Squash: Could this recipe be any easier? Oven-roasted slices of squash, which you can customize with different herbs and spices. Leftovers are great cubed and tossed in a salad of winter greens with toasted pecans and dried cranberries.

Sardine Pâté: Silky fish pâté is great spread on toasts with flutes of sparkling Champagne.

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Chocolate Persimmon Muffins

persimmons

Often people aren’t sure what to do with persimmons. While Fuyu persimmons are eaten while crunchy and are good in fruit compotes and wintery salads, Hachiya persimmons are abruptly tannic when unripe and must be squishy soft before eaten. And if you’ve even tried an unripe one, you’ll know that I’m being kind when I say “abruptly.” Fully ripe, they’re quite sweet and even though people will sometimes pop them into the freezer then enjoy eating them like sorbet with a spoon, they’re a bit of a one-note fruit for me.

So I was excited when I was reading through Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce and came upon the recipe for adding a second note by combining them with dark chocolate in these not-just-for-breakfast muffins.

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Ma Bûche is In the Weeds

There’s a phrase that’s used in restaurant kitchens, in the weeds, which means that basically, you’re sunk. It’s when the orders are coming up too fast and you’re behind, or that you’ve taken on more work than you can chew and you can’t keep up.

dishes

A few weeks ago I volunteered to make a Bûche de Noël for the Christmas dessert. At the time, it seemed like a good idea, but this morning, I’m not so sure.

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Gâteaux aux kakis

Since I write in English quite a bit better than I do in French, the blog and my recipes are in the language of Shakespeare. However I realize a portion of my readers aren’t native English speakers, yet tirelessly trudge through my writings sans complaint.

This post is for you.

I would venture to guess about 90%* of the recipes in print and on the internet are in English, and a majority of them are in good ‘ol cups-and-tablespoons, forcing a great many people with whom we share our global village to do their unfair share of translating and converting.

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Les kakis, aka, persimmons

So, it’s turnabout time.
Here’s a recipe that I made for Christmas gifts, which I distributed to some favorite people in Paris, such as shopkeepers I visit, chocolatiers I frequent, and vendors at my local market that let me slip in front of the dames who make them rifle through the onions for twenty minutes looking for the elusive best one while I wait patiently behind them while they count out the 14 centimes while the people behind me start pressing themselves up against my backside or shoving the wheels of their metal shopping cart against my heels as if I can possibly move forward.

(For fun, I usually start backing up slowing, which causes a near riot behind me and is great fun to listen to. If you’re going to do this, though, whatever you do, never, ever look behind you. Keep staring straight ahead, as if you’re completely oblivious to what’s happening back there.)

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James Beard’s Amazing Persimmon Bread Recipe

persimmons

Like most Americans, I’ve discovered that French people also aren’t so familiar with persimmons either. They see them at the market, but don’t stop to buy any. Or if they do, they take them home, bite into an unripe one, make a face, and toss ‘em out.

One of my friends living north of San Francisco in Sonoma County had a enormous persimmon tree. Each fall, the leaves would drift off the tree, leaving bright orange globes of fruit dangling off the sparse branches. The beautiful, gnarled wood was quite a contrast to the smooth, brilliantly-colored orbs of fruit. (The wood of the persimmon tree is not just beautiful but it’s prized by makers of many of the finest golf clubs in the world and is considered superior to most others woods or man-made materials.)

persimmons

The most common persimmon you’re likely to find is the Hachiya, a slightly elongated fruit that tapers to a point. They’re incredibly tannic and astringent when not ripe and need to be squishy-soft and feel like a full water-balloon before using, or you’ll be sorry. Once ripe, the sweet jelly-like pulp can be spooned out and pureed through a blender, food processor, or food mill, although some folks like to eat it as is or frozen. The pulp freezes beautifully, and in fact, I’ll often freeze some for late-winter use.

persimmon bread

To ripen a Hachiya persimmon, simply let it sit on your countertop until it’s so soft, it’s like a water balloon about to burst. You can hasten the process by putting persimmons in a well-sealed container; adding an apple, which give off a lot of ethyline gas, which will speed things up.

The other common persimmon is the Fuyu, which is more squat than the Hachiya and matte-orange. Unlike the Hachiya, the Fuyu is meant to be eaten hard and is delightfully crunchy. I peel them, then mix pieces into an autumnal fruit salad along with dates, slices of Comice pears, pomegranate seeds and yes…even some bits of prunes!

Finding recipes for using persimmons can be difficult. I invented a recipe for a quick Persimmon Cake for my book Room For Dessert, which I make often for Thanksgiving. And I also like James Beard’s Persimmon Bread, a nifty recipe from his classic book on breadmaking, Beard on Bread, published over 30 years ago.

I was fortunate to meet James Beard several times when he came to dinner at Chez Panisse. In the years after he passed away, we’d get all sorts of celebrity chefs breezing through our kitchen. Many of them were hyped, media-created hotshot superchefs who I never found as interesting as people like James Beard, Jane Grigson, and Richard Olney, who were really wonderful writers.

persimmons sifting

The most charming thing about this simple Persimmon Bread recipe is that Beard gives bakers an inexact amount of an ingredient: sugar. So go ahead just this one time to improvise a little. Although I recommend using the higher amount of sugar, feel free to use whichever quantity you’d like…after all, you have permission from the granddaddy of all cooks, James Beard himself.

persimmon bread 1

Persimmon Bread

Two 9-inch Loaves

Using the higher amount of sugar will produce a moister and, of course, sweeter bread.

Adapted from Beard on Bread by James Beard.

  • 3½ cups sifted flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 to 2½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup Cognac, bourbon or whiskey
  • 2 cups persimmon puree (from about 4 squishy-soft Hachiya persimmons)
  • 2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 2 cups raisins, or diced dried fruits (such as apricots, cranberries, or dates)

1. Butter 2 loaf pans. Line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper or dust with flour and tap out any excess.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Sift the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

4. Make a well in the center then stir in the butter, eggs, liquor, persimmon puree then the nuts and raisins.

5. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Storage: Will keep for about a week, if well-wrapped, at room temperature. The Persimmon Breads take well to being frozen, too.

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