Wednesday, December 7, 2011
All of a sudden we have a pile of persimmons. We got some in the produce box and someone gave the husband a nice-looking one at work. They're in season, you may know. We had some recently in a salad at Ragazza, and they've been popping up on blogs.
I like persimmons, although I doubt I would buy them. However, once they enter the house, I do my best to use them.
There's always the question of what to do, though. And I know for a fact I am not the only one contemplating this exact question! In the last month, my post about spiced persimmon chutney from two years ago has been the most popular one on my blog.
Incidentally, for fellow bloggers, don't you love looking at your blog stats? They never fail to surprise me. My all-time most popular post to date is strawberry shortcake (a bit unfortunate, since that recipe wasn't any good), followed upside-down plum cake, vanilla bean bundt cake, and crazy mango bars (which I love to read and be reminded of my beloved Frances--RIP baby girl!) I also like to see the searches that lead people to my blog. In addition to the expected recipe key words, I get a lot of dog-related questions, such as, "Can my dog eat olives?" and "Are dogs allergic to cabbage?" and a strangely popular one, "What happens if my dog eats persimmons?" (no joke). Apparently a lot of dogs out there are gobbling these odd little tannic fruits and sending their owners into frenzies. Perhaps I should add a canine diet and health page to my blog.
I myself will occasionally search for recipes (thus the chutney) and have come across persimmon bread, persimmon cake, persimmon preserves, etc. In the end, this week I fell back on an old basic recipe I've used a hundred times for a crostata. I've done it with blueberries, pears, and apples, among other fruits. The crust is very simple and since crostatas are free form I don't have to fret about my poor pastry skills.
This time I decided on a combination of apples and persimmons, and contrary to my usual method of just dumping all the fruit in a pile over the crust, I Martha-Stewarted the hell out of this thing and arranged the fruit into elegant little rows (elegant by my standards, sloppy by Martha's).
The result was lovely indeed, with one caveat, which is that although I sliced the persimmons rather thinly (I thought), they didn't quite cook enough. So while the apples were perfectly soft without being mushy, the persimmons were a shade al dente.
It was more than edible, though, the first night with vanilla ice cream and for the next couple of days for breakfast. The husband informed me from his cube at work that the mid-morning combination of the crostata with a latte was "dope." Indeed!
While I can't vouch for whether or not they are dog-safe, persimmons are a perfect fruit for humans to enjoy this time of year. They look like bright little jewels, have a curious texture employable in either a salad or dessert, and bear a distinctive, sweet flavor at home in a crumble, crisp, or this homey little crostata.