persimmon

Some like it hot

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Do you think that so many SuperBowl foods are hot and spicy because football weather is often so cold, snowy and blowy? And maybe eating things like Buffalo wings and Chili makes us feel warm and cozy as we watch the men running around outside?

Or maybe it's that spicy food is energizing and that helps make the game more exciting?

Whatever the reason, a lot of people serve at least one spicy item during the event.

Here's mine: a persimmon salsa with serrano peppers and lime juice to add a little kick to your menu. Best with corn chips.

Persimmon Salsa

  • 2 Fuyu persimmons
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped serrano or jalapeno pepper
  • 2 medium scallions, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • salt to taste

Chop the persimmons into small pieces and place them in a bowl. Add the mint, serrano pepper, scallions and garlic clove. Pour in the olive oil and toss the ingredients. Add the honey and lime juice, sprinkle with salt and toss the ingredients. Let rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Makes about 2-1/2 cups 

Can you guess what this is?

It resembles a yellowish tomato, is as crisp as a new-crop apple and tastes like a sweet pumpkin.

This:

 

You guessed it: a Fuyu persimmon, now in season and at your supermarket if you're lucky and the produce manager ordered some. Buy them soon -- unlike strawberries and asparagus, which used to be seasonal items but are now always available, you can only get persimmons for a short time.

If you aren't familiar with persimmons you should know there are several kinds. Check out my article at The Jewish Week, where I explain the differences.

Because the Fuyu variety is sturdy, you can use it for salads and salsas. But I processed some to a fare-thee-well in my food processor and used the pulp to make this fabulous, moist and gently spicy cake, which got rave reviews from one and all. This is a good snack but also, dressed up a bit with ice cream or sorbet, makes a simple and lovely dessert too.

Here's what the cake looks like:

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Here's the recipe:

PERSIMMON COFFEE CAKE

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Fuyu persimmons (1 cup pureed pulp)
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 10-inch bundt pan. Place the flour with one teaspoon baking soda, the baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl and whisk to distribute the ingredients evenly. Chop the persimmons and puree them in a food processor. Place the pulp in a bowl and add the remaining teaspoon baking soda. Mix the ingredients and set aside. Place the butter and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until the butter mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the flour mixture in parts, alternating with the yogurt, then the persimmon puree. Stir in the vanilla extract. Spoon the batter into the bundt pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a cake rack to cool completely.

Note: adding some of the baking soda to the persimmon pulp keeps the cake tender and crumbly; otherwise the texture will be too dense and "wet." 

Makes one cake; 12-16 servings