Persimmon Trifle with Walnut Croquant
The astringency is due to the presence of tannins, a group of chemicals that occur in tea, red wine, and in a few other fruits, such as peaches and dates, before they ripen, though the quantity in a persimmon is much greater. As the fruit ripens and softens, the tannins become inert and the astringency disappears.
It tasted great as a fruit and immediately I thought of pairing it with chocolate and chantilly...with may be a dash of rum.
Caution: Never eat this fruit on an empty stomach and the fruit should be extremely ripe before it can be eaten.
You can read more about this fruit here and here.
Chocolate Persimmon Trifle
(with Walnut Croquants & Creme Chantilly)
(for two cups of trifle)
1 persimmon fruit, pulp/cubed
1 recipe of your favourite chocolate cake, 1/2 pound (you can keep half the cake in the fridge for later use)
1/2 cup chantilly-(1/2 cup whipping/heavy cream mixed with 4 tbsp of sugar + 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract)
4 tbsp of melted dark chocolate
2 tbsp of light rum with 1 tbsp sugar dissolved
For walnut croquants-
a handful of crushed walnuts
5 tbsp brown sugar
5 tbsp water
First warm the cake for half a minute. Use half the cake. Then pour the sugar-rum syrup over it. Break/crush the cake with your fingers. Set aside.
Make the creme' chantilly using the heavy cream, sugar & vanilla extract.
To make the walnut croquants--
Mix the sugar and the water over a medium flame till its sticky but not too viscous. On a foil lined cookie sheet, spread the walnuts and pour the sugar syrup on top. Bake in the oven for a minute or less. Allow to cool to harden a little.
For the assembly--
In a glass, first layer with the cake, then the melted chocolate, followed by persimmon fruit and the walnut croquants. Top this with chantilly.
Repeat these layers once more. Serve chilled with a chocolate cake slice,if desired.
Now for my signature interesting facts-
Persimmon, known to the ancient Greeks as "the fruit of the gods" is the edible fruit of a number of species of trees of the genus Diospyros in the ebony wood family (Ebenaceae). They are high in glucose, with a balanced protein profile, and possess various medicinal and chemical uses. While the persimmon fruit is not considered a "common berry" it is in fact a "true berry" by definition.
The sexuality of persimmons is particularly baffling. Some trees are male, some are female, some have flowers of both sexes, some change their gender in midlife, no doubt for personal reasons. Some are self-fertile, some need a pollinating tree. Some have no seeds. The most important distinction for the cook is that some taste horrid all the way up until the moment they ripen, at which point they become so soft inside they are like little jellied balloons. Others -- the so-called "non-astringent" types -- sweeten while still firm.
It is said that you can predict the winter by taking the seeds out of some persimmons and then slicing the seeds. The shape that shows up the most inside each seed will tell you what kind of winter to expect. The three shapes resemble three eating utensils.
A Knife shape means there will be a cold icy winter (as in the wind will slice through you like a knife).A Spoon shape means there will be plenty of snow for you to shovel.A Fork shape means there will be a mild winter
Culinarily, persimmons have fared less well. Many people remember their first taste as a form of persecution: an unripe sample offered by a teasing grandfather, a wicked older sister or the neighborhood bully. Had they persevered and tried one ripe, they might have grown up prizing them as much as the native tribes prized their Diospyros virginiana or the Japanese their Diospyros kaki.
If ever you get a chance try this fruit...its worth it! I am in love with this exotic fruit and you will see more concoctions here...soon."
Runner up is 5 Star Foodie, for her Truffled Langoustine Ravioli and Frizzled Leeks
Since the langoustine ravioli in particular was my personal favorite, I wanted to re-create this dish at home. In my version, I serve the langoustine ravioli on top of frizzled leeks. This langoustine ravioli would be perfect as part of a romantic Valentine's Day dinner, and I am submitting this recipe for The Alchemist Chef's Valentine's Day Recipe Competition.
2 stick butter, room temperature
2 ounce truffles
Pinch of fleur de sel
Homemade pasta dough
1 cup flour plus additional flour as needed
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
2 cups chicken stock
1 green onion
1/2 cup leeks
2 leafs mint
Salt to taste
2 langoustines, heads and shells removed
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup cream
2 tablespoons black truffle oil
2 tablespoons of truffle butter
2 cups leeks, chopped
Place butter and a pinch of fleur de sel in a small bowl. Grate the truffle and mix gently into the butter. Form into a ball or a log, wrap, and refrigerate for at least a few hours. Note: You can also make the truffle butter by combining truffle oil and butter or purchase prepared truffle butter such as D'Artagnan and use it instead. Do ahead :The butter can be made up to three days in advance and refrigerated.
Prepare your homemade pasta dough. For these ravioli, I used my old-fashioned recipe without the pasta maker; however, any homemade pasta dough recipe can be used. If you would like to use my recipe, follow these directions: In a large bowl, mix flour, egg, salt, and water until a soft dough forms. On a floured surface knead the dough adding flour if necessary until the dough is smooth and elastic. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Do ahead :The dough can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.
To a pot, add 2 cups of chicken stock, carrot, green onion, leeks, and mint. Bring to boil. Season with salt and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Strain and discard the vegetables. Do ahead : The stock can be made up to three days in advance and refrigerated.
Reserve 1/2 cup of stock liquid. Bring the rest of the stock back to boil, then place langoustines in the liquid and poach for 1-2 minutes. Take the langoustines out of the liquid, cool, and slice into small chunks.
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin or pasta maker until very thin. Cut out small round shapes using a round cookie cutter or a wine glass. On each round, place a tiny dollop of truffle butter and a chunk of langoustine. Fold in half and seal. The filling will be enough to make 16 ravioli. Do ahead : Arrange ravioli on a baking rack and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
In a separate small pot, combine 1/2 cup of reserved stock and white wine and boil until reduced by half. Add cream, 2 tablespoons truffle oil, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Fold in truffle butter. Do ahead : The sauce can be made about two hours ahead and kept in a warming drawer.
In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat, add leeks and fry, stirring occasionally for about 8-10 minutes.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Season with salt and cook ravioli for 2-3 minutes for al dente.
On a plate, arrange ravioli on top of leeks, pour the truffle cream sauce and top with a dollop of truffle butter."
CONGRATULATIONS again to both winners!
Now I am off to prepare my Valentine's Dinner for my boyfriend, Carlos. A few weeks ago, Carlos bought me a present. I think you will all appreciate my gift....a 1/2 lb of Manchego. Now that's romance! ; )