They are all over the place at the moment – a vibrant splash of color in an increasingly grey landscape. They are in season so it’s time to grab a few (or a lot) and find out what to do with persimmons!
Persimmons, which in Russian are called хурма (khur-mah) are a cross between an apple and a peach taste and texture-wise, though they belong more to the tomato family. Very popular in Asia, they make a welcome annual appearance here in Russia each autumn and are eaten raw or preserved as dried fruit, jam, or used in puddings or cakes. Foreigners tend to shy away from persimmons primarily because we don’t know what to do with them—or I certainly didn’t until I got out some books and started to research.
Persimmons turn out to be very versatile and to prove it, I set out to create four very different dishes: two sweet and two savory involving just one kilo of this autumnal favorite. All are easy to prepare and involve a number of persimmon’s ideal partners.
Persimmon and Grand Marnier Puree:
My fellow Russia-based blogger, Potty Mommy, turns out to be quite a gourmet (why was I not surprised?) and in addition to giving me an amazing lunch last week, she also produced an impressive binder of recipes, amassed over the years and was able to instantly put her hand on a chocolate fudge cake, over which you should strew sliced persimmons. It looked fantastic and I could see how the dense chocolate would pair nicely with the musky tartness of the persimmon. I decided to do a riff on that idea and make a persimmon puree with Grand Marnier and pair it up with fudgy brownies. Same idea…much less work! And we’ll talk brownies very soon…
Persimmon and Apple Chutney
With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, I’m always on the look out for new twists on traditional elements, particularly since you have to really get out your Sherlock Holmes kit to run cranberries to ground in this town. Enter: persimmon chutney! Paired with ginger, apples, raisins and the twin tangs of lemon juice and cider vinegar, this is sure to liven up the turkey and trimmings. I found a fantastic recipe for this from bon appétit via epicurious.com, and made only one change: pulling the jalapeño out as an optional. Not everyone wants to give thanks in a pool of perspiration.
Persimmon with Cardamom Ice-Cream
I had a hunch that persimmon and cardamom would be a match made in heaven, and it turned out I was right. I dug around the blogosphere and came up with an encouraging post from the ever-authoritive Tartelette a.k.a. Helene Dujardin, author of “From Plate To Pixel” who gave me the idea to add the pistachios as a garnish. I teamed cardamom up with allspice berries, which gave the creamy ice cream a real kick. The real inspiration, however, was my new ice cream making gadget that I splurged on when I (finally finally finally) got my new Kitchen Aid mixer. A happy day in the Moscovore Household!
Chicken Salad with Persimmon and Pomegranate
I wanted to try something savory and something with pomegranate as well and this chicken salad invented itself. With a light and citrusy yogurt dressing, I paired poached chicken with traditional elements of chicken salad such as celery and scallions, but added a twist with persimmon and pomegranate and topped it all with some lovely fresh cilantro. The perfect centerpiece for a girl’s lunch or, it later occurred to me, as the filling for canapé. This one is definitely a keeper!
All this from one kilo of persimmons! So, don’t be shy, grab a kilo while they are still in season and see what you come up with! Then come back and tell us about it here!
And please rate this post with the little matriyoshkas below…my designer Carey worked so hard on those, you can’t think!