Recipes: 3 ways with persimmons

Persimmon, blue cheese and date bites are a perfect flavour combination.
Maarten Holl

Persimmon, blue cheese and date bites are a perfect flavour combination.

Persimmons are a rare ray of sunshine in the winter fruit bowl – and the garden, where they glow like Chinese lanterns.

They're high in vitamin C (the New Zealand Persimmon Industry Council website helpfully notes that this means they're recommended to sufferers of everything from high blood pressure to hangovers), and cheap to buy, so I can't understand why they're not more popular.

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The most commonly found variety here is the non-astringent fuyu, which has crisp, slightly vanilla-scented flesh. Store them at room temperature in your fruit bowl, stem end facing down, and stock up while you can.

PERSIMMON, BLUE CHEESE AND DATE BITES
Serves 4 as a canape or as part of a cheese platter
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: nil

My current favourite idea of a balanced meal is having a persimmon in one hand and a wedge of creamy blue cheese in the other – they are perfect together. I've developed a serious addiction to Whitestone Cheese's Aged Windsor Blue after discovering it at the Outstanding Food Producer Awards, where it added to a long list of accolades.

If you're not the canape type, try tossing this combination of ingredients through baby spinach with a honey and lemon vinaigrette. These are best made just before serving.

Ingredients
2 persimmons
12 dried dates, cut in half lengthways
A 110g wedge of Whitestone Aged Windsor Blue cheese, at room temperature

Peel the persimmons and cut out the central stem. Slice into three 1cm slices, then cut each of these into four wedges. Top each with a piece of blue cheese and half a date. Skewer through the middle with a toothpick and transfer to a serving dish. Serve immediately.

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PERSIMMONS AND TAMARILLOS IN ORANGE AND HONEY SYRUP
Serves 3-4
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: nil

This is a very refreshing winter pudding, or a good topping for porridge, especially with some icy cold hokey pokey icecream, whipped cream or yoghurt (or all three, I'm not going to judge).

Ingredients
2 persimmons
3 tamarillos
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup water
zest and juice of 1 large orange

Put the tamarillos and persimmons in a large heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for five minutes, then drain. As soon as the fruit is cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and cut the fruit into small wedges. Put the fruit into a serving bowl.

Put the honey, water, orange zest and juice in a small pot and set over medium heat. Bring to the boil and let simmer gently for three minutes, then remove from the heat. Pour over the fruit and stir gently. Let the fruit steep in the syrup for at least 30 minutes before serving.

SPICY PERSIMMON, CRANBERRY AND GINGER MUFFINS
Makes 10 muffins
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

These muffins are sustaining but not heavy, meaning they're good for breakfast or a substantial morning tea. They also freeze well.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups plain flour (or spelt flour)
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
½ cup coconut
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of salt
60g butter, melted
1 ¼ cups milk
1 egg
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup finely chopped stem or glace ginger
2 persimmons

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius and grease 10 holes in a medium-sized muffin tin. Peel the persimmons and cut out the central stem. Cut one of the persimmons into small dice, and slice the other into thin wedges. Set aside.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt into a large bowl. Add rolled oats, brown sugar, and coconut and stir well.

In a separate bowl, mix the egg, melted butter and milk. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, followed by the cranberries, ginger and diced persimmon. Fold together gently until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups, then push a couple of pieces of persimmon into each one. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Cool for five minutes, then gently turn out of the tin and leave to cool on a rack.

For more of Lucy's recipes (including a bonus persimmon recipe), visit kitchen-maid.blogspot.co.nz

 - Stuff

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