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Saturday, December 01, 2012


Excellent Ingredient of the Week
Some basic info off the internet: There are two main varieties of persimmon commercially available in the U.S. today: the acorn-shaped Hachiya, and the squat, tomato-shaped Fuyu. Persimmons begin appearing in markets in late September and are available through December.What to Look For: Hachiya persimmons remain tart and chalky until they are extremely ripe, while Fuyu persimmons are sweeter and can be eaten while still firm. Look for persimmons with taut, glossy skin, avoiding fruit with soft spots or bruises. If persimmons are still firm, store them at room temperature and allow them to ripen. Store soft, ripe persimmons in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

There are a number of things you can do with them. Martha "the convict" Stewart gives us this traditional recipe. Warning: this is ridiculously time-consuming and labor-intensive and you need a special pan. It is however, totally worth it.

Steamed Persimmon Pudding

4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for mold
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup Calvados or other brandy
1/4 cup sultanas, (golden raisins)
3 to 4 very soft Hachiya persimmons
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, dissolved in 1 1/2 tablespoons hot water
1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger

Butter a 12-cup pudding mold. Fill a large pot fitted with a steamer insert with enough water to come halfway up mold (test this with an empty mold); set aside. Sift flour, spices, and salt in a bowl; set aside. Put Calvados and sultanas into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes. Drain; discard liquid or drink it. Set raisins aside. Meanwhile, slice tops off persimmons. Scoop out flesh, and press through a sieve into a bowl, discarding skins (you should have 1 1/2 cups persimmon puree). Whisk in milk; set aside. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice. Add persimmon mixture in 2 batches, scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Mix in baking soda mixture. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in pecans, sultanas, and ginger. Pour into prepared mold; cover with buttered parchment and lid (or tin foil).Bring water in prepared pot to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. Carefully lower mold into steamer. Cover pot, and steam until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 3 to 3 1/2 hours, checking occasionally to make sure water level is maintained (add hot water as needed). Transfer mold to a wire rack; remove lid and parchment. Let cool 15 minutes. Unmold pudding onto a plate, and cut into slices.

If you don't have a week to spend making a pudding, some other easier options include broiling thin cut slices and drizzling them with honey and lime, tossing persimmon in a nice winter salad of watercress and arugula with a spicy dressing or cutting one up and sharing it with your dad.