Thursday, December 9, 2010
1 Recipe #211: Poached Persimmons
|Doesn't this photo just make you want to reach out & pluck |
this hachiya persimmon right off the tree? ;)
|Ripe hachiya persimmons.|
Also, persimmons can be ripened by either exposing them to light or placing them in a paper bag, both of which hasten ethylene production. (Ethylene is a chemical by-product that's released as fruit ripen.)
|Unripe fuyu persimmons.|
|Unripe hachiya persimmons.|
I'll admit that before I knew what I was doing, I really DETESTED persimmons and thought them to be one of the most unpleasant foods on the planet, aside from maybe chopped chicken livers, tongue, and tripe. ;) One or two tremendously bad experiences and that did it. I'd soured on them indefinitely. Pun intended. :) In fact, I would've gladly eaten a thousand overcooked, dry & mushy lima beans before I'd have thought that I'd willingly touch another persimmon ever again. Of course, this was primarily due to the fact that, back then, I didn't know
|Fuyu, just another name for persimmon. ;)|
I'll often buy stuff from the international market that I have absolutely no clue how to use. (I trust that I'll just figure it out later, when I get home!). Or, if it's a fruit or a vegetable I've never encountered before, I'll most certainly try it without any knowledge whatsoever. What can I say, I'm the Russian roulette queen of produce. :) So let's spin the wheel and see what we get....
Of course, when I bit into the unripe fuyu I thought to myself, "Wait, this kind of tastes like a persimmon. Huh, that's weird." ;) And then, "Blech!" ;) Just like I'd remembered it. Chalky and mouth-puckeringly sour as hell. And then after some internet research, I realized, "Ohhhhh, it was a persimmon." Doh.
|What fuyus look like on the inside.|
While the fuyu can be eaten as soon as they become slightly soft, I honestly prefer them when they become a little bit riper, verging on extremely soft & gooey. Many people like them when they are still firm, but to me, they still taste chalky & way too fibrous at this stage. They are commonly eaten raw. When ripe, fuyus have a mild, sweet and tart flavor. They have black seeds, which should be removed before consumption. Just pick them out as you encounter them.
People seem to be very divided in their opinion between the two kinds. A lot of people seem to prefer the fuyus for some reason, although I'm not as big of a fan of them, particularly in their raw form. However, when they're baked, they taste really good. Since the hachiya takes a lot longer to ripen, more patience is required, but in my opinion, it's well worth the wait. :)
Hachiya persimmons have to be eaten when they are really, really soft, almost gushingly so. They are much tarter than fuyus and must be eaten only when they are overripe. Otherwise, they have that extremely bitter, chalky taste that I was warning you about earlier. However, overripe hachiyas are another matter altogether; they are incredibly soft and silky and taste like heaven. Unlike the somewhat fibrous texture of the fuyu, an overripe hachiya's pulp is smooth and almost liquified. They are commonly thought of as "baking" persimmons, although you can eat them raw as well. They are usually peeled & pureed into a pulp before they are incorporated into baked goods. If you can't tell, I prefer the hachiyas. :) I love eating them raw. The gooier the better!
|A hachiya that's been cut in half.|
I've added both kinds into the below recipe to give it a balance between tart & sweet. And, if you've never tasted a persimmon before, it'll give you a chance to taste both kinds. :-D
|Sugar & spice, and everything nice, finished off with a wicked little kick in the pants. :) Ka-POW!|
1 c. bletted (i.e., overripe) hachiya persimmons, hulled, seeded, peeled, & quartered (about 2 persimmons)
1 c. bletted i.e., overripe) fuyu persimmons, hulled, seeded, peeled, & quartered (about 2 persimmons)
2 c. orange juice
3/4 c. Cointreau
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground aniseed
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground clove
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper, according to individual heat preference
4 c. water, added as necessary (optional)
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
Directions: In a large and very deep sauté pan, combine the persimmons, orange juice, Cointreau, vanilla extract, & all spices. Bring the liquid to a boil, stirring occasionally. Then turn down heat to medium, cover, & simmer until tender, which, depending on the state of your ripened persimmons (i.e., soft, firm, etc.) could take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. ;) If persimmons need to cook a bit longer, add water, one cup at a time as the liquid cooks down, to prolong their cooking while keeping them from burning on the bottom. Reduce liquid to about half of its original volume. When persimmons are soft, remove pan from heat & stir in lime juice, blending well. Divide up fruit wedges into equal portions, & transfer with a slotted spoon to individual porcelain ramekins. Pour remaining syrup (from the pan) over top of each serving. Serve warm or chilled over ice cream or pudding (like peach melba).
Yield: Serves 3-4.
|A bowl of hachiyas also make a pretty centerpiece.|