FOOD

Wednesday, November 30,2005

 

 

JOY OF BAKING

SCONES AND BREAD PUDDING

 

Persimmon perks up a homey dessert

By

Jennifer Wolcott

 


Persimmons probably aren't a fixture on your weekly shopping list. But at this time of year, Douglas Organ can't imagine cooking without them. In late fall, when persimmons come into season they're grown in places with moderate climates, such as California. Arbor restaurant's chef and owner shops for the succulent Asian fruit as zealously as a toddler picking through holiday gifts.

Fans of Organ's persimmon-enhanced menu in his Jamaica Plain spot will find persimmon salad with Belgian endive, escarole, radicchio, toasted walnuts, and Great Hill blue cheese, lightly drizzled with a port and red wine vinaigrette. On the dessert menu, the chef's homey, persimmon-flavored bread pudding will soothe diners craving comfort food.

Organ first discovered persimmons about 10 years ago when cooking in San Diego at Laurel Restaurant & Bar and the WineSellar & Brasserie. A little experimentation led him to pair persimmon with venison, duck, even foie gras. He combined the deep-orange fruit with crimson-colored pomegranates, and he created persimmon-infused sauces for panna cotta and sorbet.

His favorite recipe from those days is the humble bread pudding, which derives its bold flavor not only from persimmon pureed with brandy, but also from cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and orange rind.

The chef prefers the tomato-shaped Fuyu persimmon. Fuyu is firm when ripe and non-astringent, unlike other varieties such as the Hachiya, which ripens to a softer texture and is acorn-shaped. He finds Fuyus more versatile, especially since they can be eaten raw (Hachiya are only palatable when cooked). First introduced to California in the mid-1800s, persimmons are in season until February.


 

 

 

 

Arbor

711 Centre Street

Jamaica Plain

617.522.1221

 

 

Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company
INDIVIDUAL PERSIMMON BREAD PUDDINGS

Serves 8

 

PUDDING

butter (for the dishes)

1/2 cup brandy

1/2 cup golden raisins

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

grated rind of 1/2 orange

2 cups heavy cream

6 cups day-old French bread,

crusts removed and bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 1/2 pounds Fuyu persimmon (about 5), peeled and chopped

 

1. Butter 8 ramekins or other custard cups, each with a 1 1/2-cup capacity.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the brandy over low heat. Remove it from the heat. Add the raisins; set aside.

3. In a large bowl with a whisk, beat the egg yolks, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, and orange rind until thick. Whisk in the cream.

4. Add the bread to the cream mixture. With a large metal spoon, stir gently. Set aside for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the bread absorbs the liquids.

5. Set the oven at 350 degrees.

6. Strain the raisins, reserving the brandy. Add the raisins to the bread mixture.

7. In a food processor, combine the persimmons and reserved brandy. Work in on-off motions until the mixture is smooth. You should have 2 cups of puree. Stir the puree into the bread mixture.

8. Divide the bread mixture among the ramekins or custard cups. Set them in a roasting pan. Bring a tea kettle of water to a boil. Add enough water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the dishes.

9. Bake the puddings for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and set them on a rack.

 

TOPPING

1/2 cup heavy cream, softly whipped

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted until golden Honey (for drizzling)

 

1. Using potholders to protect your hands, invert each pudding onto a dessert plate.

2. To each pudding, add a spoonful of whipped cream, a sprinkle of toasted pecans, and a drizzle of honey.

Adapted from Arbor, Jamaica Plain, MA

 

Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company