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Enjoy winter's bounty of persimmons all year long


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POSTED: Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Arlette Okuno and I have a deal: I do her research and she gives me her tried-and-true recipe for a persimmon bundt cake.

Okuno has a bounty of fuyu persimmons (these are the round, flat ones, not the pointy-ended hachiya) and would like to freeze them chopped in 3-cup quantities, perfect for her cake. This would be handy information for all who love persimmons, as these fruits are only available late in the year. Freezing would extend the ability to enjoy.

I checked a number of food-preparation sources to come up with a consensus on freezing. Turns out that persimmons freeze very well — the process can be as simple as putting whole, unskinned fruit in the freezer. Serve partially thawed.

The fruit can also be pureed, mixed with 2 tablespoons lemon juice per pint and frozen.

But to answer Okuno's question about freezing quantities of chopped persimmons, there are three methods. Begin with peeled, seeded fruit, sliced or cut into even pieces:

» Dry pack: Simply place slices in an airtight container or well-sealed freezer bag.

» Sugar pack: Sprinkle cut fruit with sugar and mix gently. This will draw out some of the natural juices to coat the fruit before freezing. The softer the fruit, the more juices you'll get. Pack into containers or bags.

>> Sugar syrup: For about 5 pints of cut fruit, combine 2 cups sugar with 4 cups water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice; stir over medium heat to dissolve sugar. Cool. Put fruit in containers and cover with the syrup to within an inch of the top. Freeze.

Using sugar is recommended to preserve texture and color, but could affect your recipe. You may want to cut down on the amount of sugar you bake with. If you're trying to reduce the processed sugar in your life, use an unsweetened fruit juice that contains ascorbic acid, such as apple, pineapple, orange or white grape juice. Be sure to leave space at the top of the container for the liquid to expand as it freezes. You can place a small piece of waxed paper on top of the fruit to keep it submerged.

This bring us to Okuno's recipe. Need a last-minute gift idea? She says mini-bundts are nice for sharing.

 

FUYU BUNDT CAKE

3 cups of chopped, peeled and seeded firm fuyu persimmons
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-2/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Grease and flour a bundt cake pan. Preheat oven to 350. Sprinkle persimmons with baking soda and mix.

Beat butter with sugar. Add eggs, lemon juice and vanilla; beat until fluffy. Stir in persimmons.

In separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir into persimmon mixture just until blended. Add nuts and cranberries.

Pour into bundt pan. Bake 55 to 60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes, then turn onto rack. Cool completely; sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Nutritional information unavailable.

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