Friday, November 17, 2006

The Forgotten Jewels.



Growing up, I think that I disliked Persimmon, even though I never actually tried it. I know, that is just not fair. I think the slimy flesh never did it for me; and for some reason, we always had a loaf or two of persimmon bread from the holidays, hidden in the depths of our freezer,only to be rediscovered come July.

To think that all these years have passed and I never once gave it a chance.

Thanks to our new produce delivery, we received two Fuyu Persimmons in our basket last week. Curious, I cut one open the other night.

I actually really liked it.

It has a very mild flavor, a mild sweetness, and sort of resembled an avocado flavor to me, but in a fruitier way. I have to say, I feel sorry for the Persimmon. Because of people like me who never give it a chance, it may never get its time to shine. But, at our house for those two nights, it shone. In two very good salads, accompanied by walnuts, pears, feta and mixed greens, it did very well.

I would say that the Persimmon stood its ground.

My next Persimmon encounter will be at work this week when I will attempt to forgo my stereotype of turning it into pudding or bread.

Persimmon, I hope to have loftier plans for you.

*Update…Two days later and I have made a couple Persimmon discoveries.
First, it makes a pretty decent Sherbet, with a mild sweet flavor and lovely color. Second, when I attempted to make a cake with it, its subtle flavor was all but drowned out. Funny, the cake was nice and moist, but it reminded me of a very bland pumpkin bread. Needless to say, my debut Persimmon cake didn’t land on the dessert menu tonight, rather, it made a tasty treat for the staff family meal….

* a note about Persimmon. For use in puree's or in breads or cakes, be sure that the fruit is VERY ripe. The slimier the better. If you want to use sliced in a salad, use a slightly less soft (tomato shaped) FUYU Persimmon. Fuyu Persimmons aren't Tannic, so they can be eaten when slightly more firm. The Hachiya Persimmon (acorn shaped) on the other hand, and very Tannic, and they have to be very soft before eaten.

Forgotten Jewels, Part 2.

I admit, up until a few years back, I don’t think that I had ever really seen one, let alone use it in a dessert. It is a funny looking thing, the Quince. It resembles a cross between a Pear and an Apple, yet it seems like an antique somehow. It looks like a fruit that has been around for a while. While in the Pear and Apple family, the Quince is a bit like an Apple on Steroids, in some cases nubby and nobbly…and in other cases, covered in a loose fuzz.

Hmm, sound appealing?

I think the first time I realized the potential in a Quince was when I smelled a very yellow one.

It smelled beautiful.

I think that Quince scare people because you cant just bite into one, or eat it raw in any case. (you can, but you don’t want to.) For the beautifully floral and honeysweet flavor to come out, you need to poach it. Yes, it may be a little more consuming, but believe me, it is worth it.

Vanilla Poached Quince

1 Quince, peeled cut and cored

Bring to a boil with,
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
½ vanilla bean
Zest of one lemon

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, until tender.
*it helps to lay a paper towel across the poaching liquid, to keep the Quince submerged, so it poaches evenly.

Here is hoping this post will aid in convicing my dad to throw a few poached Quince into his world famous Holiday Apple Crumble.... Posted by Picasa

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