Blackened organic persimmons for 75 cents a pound vs. around $3 a pound?
Sign me up because I’m making persimmon butter. Bought these from Kaki at the Berkeley Farmers' Market. They told me the alarming-looking sooty skin wouldn’t affect the fruit and they were right.
This and the galette I’m using it for are the last two recipes for the book. I really wanted both recipes in the book so I’m thankful that Chronicle let me go past deadline until the persimmons came into season. I wavered between using Hachiyas (the more obvious choice) or Fuyus. Fuyus are more readily available and I figured they would behave like apples when turned into butter. Whereas the Hachiyas are lovely to eat and put into puddings and cakes as long as they are gooey ripe, which can take forever. I think I made the right choice, but I’ll be trying this with Hachiyas as well just to be sure.
I was also going for an interesting flavor profile so I settled on cinnamon, cardamom, rum, vanilla beans, and lime. Wow. It’s really good. Visions of holiday gifts are now dancing in my head.
Here’s the method:
Peel and cut the fruit into chunks and put it in the food processor.
Put the pulp in a heavy enameled cast iron pot and add a whole cinnamon stick, a whole vanilla bean, split and scraped, and the crushed seeds from one cardamom pod. Cook it down over low heat for at least an hour until it darkens and thickens, stirring occasionally and watching carefully so it doesn’t stick and burn.
Add two tablespoons of white rum and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Add the zest of one lime grated on a microplane. Stir and taste. Cool and refrigerate. I used about 2 1/2 pounds of persimmons and it yielded about 2 cups of persimmon butter.
For the galette, I used about 3/4 of a cup of persimmon butter. I simply spread it on thinly leaving a border and then laid the apples out on top. The dough for the galette was my usual dough from this recipe but instead of all butter, I used 4 tablespoons leaf lard bought from Prather and 3 tablespoons butter. That turned out to be a very good decision. I brushed the apples and crust with a little butter halfway through baking.
This was served in the Headlands kitchen to Eduardo, his baking assistant Megan, and a few people who wandered in. It was a hit.
The rest of the butter is being eaten on toast. Yesterday, I spread a little on a piece of whole wheat toast and added thin slices of gruyere. What a sublime afternoon snack!
PS: I’m not sure that I want to think about why the persimmons are burning.