Cooking with Persimmons April 2010

Everyone has quince paste with their blue cheese-why not persimmon paste instead. Works very well with goat's and sheep's milk cheeses.


Persimmon Paste
Slice a kilo of persimmons into quarters and place in a heavy based saucepan.
Add the zest and juice of 1 large lemon and add ½ cup of water.
Bring to the boil and reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 20 -25 minutes or until the persimmons are soft.
Remove from the heat and puree in a food processor to a smooth paste.
Return the puree in the saucepan and add the sugar, stirring over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
Continue to cook over a low heat, stirring regularly (try a long handled wooden spoon as the mix can spit) until the puree thickens and comes away from the base of the pan.


Pour into a shallow tray lined with non stick paper and spread to a thickness of about 12mm.
Allow to cool.
You can leave it dry out over a period of a few days but it will remain a little stickier than quince paste.
Store between layers of non stick paper in an airtight container.
 
Autumn Salad
Fresh new season walnuts combined with roasted root vegetables and roasted slices of persimmon.
Peel and slice 6 persimmons into eighths.
Place in an oven tray with a drizzle of sherry vinegar, a sprinkle of brown sugar and a little oil.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or just as the sugars are caramelizing.
Serve mixed through the roasted root vegetables with roasted walnuts and a good helping of salad leaves.
Dress with walnut or hazelnut oil and a little more sherry vinegar.

Roasted duck and pork are fantastic with persimmon.
Try roasting persimmons as for the autumn salad and serving alongside the meats. A traditional apple sauce can be spiked with persimmon puree for a richer, brighter flavour or serve a persimmon aioli with roasted pork and duck.
Persimmon Aioli
Whisk 2 free range egg yolks in a bowl or mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt
Whisk in 2 teaspoons persimmon paste or 1 roasted persimmon, well pureed and the juice of half a lime.
Slowly pour in a very thin stream ½ cup of olive or grapeseed oil, whisking all the time.
Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Chill till needed

Cured meats, with their salty taste and leathery texture, are a wonderfully different accompaniment to persimmon. One of my favourites is an easy and really tasty finger food.
Persimmon Salsa
Peel and very finely chopped 2 persimmons, 1 shallot and 1 pear
Toast and very finely chop 2 tablespoons hazelnuts
1 teaspoon toasted and freshly ground coriander seed 
Add the juice of 1 lemon
Season with pepper and salt and mix through a little olive oil to lubricate.
Mix well and allow to sit for up to 1 hour for the flavours to infuse
Lay out very finely sliced pieces of smoked pork, venison or beef and top with the persimmon salsa.
Serve with a dry sherry.

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