Spiced Persimmon Panna Cotta With Glazed Pecans

I am an impulse shopper. Not all the time (fortunately for M and our financial future), but man, when I set my mind to it, I can SHOP, for as long as it takes to cover all the racks, display shelves, boxes and what-have-yous to sniff out the best bargains. It must be my Chinese genes or Singapore upbringing (probably both), but I can never resist a good deal. And there are always deals to be found at the Farmers’ Market. Spend $5 and you get a huge bag of deliciously ripe fruit at the height of their season, bursting with flavor, vitamins, fiber and all that good stuff. Now, that’s a deal!

Fuyu persimmons were my latest impulse purchase. I mean, these globes were calling my name with their squat, orange tuxedoes, each one promising bite after delicious bite of juicy sweetness. The only problem was the lack of persimmon recipes out there; I wasn’t interested in making a bread, cookies or pickles out of them, but I knew I wanted to do right by my orange friends by making something….”nice”. I just had to figure out what “nice” actually meant.

The first experiment was a Persimmon Tarte Tatin with some dulce de leche. Apart from giving me the chance to announce the dessert with relish (try saying the name to the trumpets in this movie theme), I ended up with a 9-inch upside down tart that was way too brown to look delectable and hardly any flavor to tease the palate. By bathing the fruit in a thick and rich caramel, I inadvertently drowned out its subtle and delicately earthy notes with burnt sugar, resulting in bland bites of cooked persimmon atop a thick crust. Not very appetizing.

The light bulb went off after reading this recipe for Pumpkin Panna Cotta. There are very few things in this world that a few cups of cream don’t get along with, and persimmons aren’t among them, fortunately.

Poached and pureed into a smooth mass reminiscent of baby food, I added a dash of cinnamon before stirring the mixture into the cream and gelatin and four hours later, we had dessert! A handful of very addictive glazed pecans garnished each serving and I gilded the lily by drizzling maple syrup for the final touch. It was Fall in a bite – spice, earthiness and sweetness from the poached fruit married with crunchy pecans, all working together in this “nice” enough dessert to keep for next Fall when persimmons are back in season. Or my next impulse purchase at the market.

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Spiced Persimmon Panna Cotta with Maple-glazed Pecans (adapted from David Lebovitz and Cannelle et Vanille)
Makes 4 servings

Poached Persimmons
2 cups/ 400 grams water
1 cup/ 200 grams granulated sugar
4 Fuyu persimmons, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cinnamon stick

Bring the water and sugar to a boil, then lower to a simmer and add the diced persimmons and cinnamon stick. Ensure that there’s enough water to cover the fruit.

Simmer, uncovered for up to 30 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to cool until needed.

Poached persimmons can be refrigerated, in their syrup, for up to a week.

Panna Cotta
14 ounces/ 400 grams poached persimmons, pureed until smooth
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2¼ teaspoon gelatin
3 tablespoons cold water
2 cups cream or half and half
¼ cup granulated sugar

Sieve the cinnamon into the pureed persimmons, mix and set aside. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a medium bowl and let it stand while you prepare the rest of the panna cotta.

Oil four ramekins or glasses with a neutral-tasting oil. (Skip this step if you’re planning on serving your panna cotta in their molds).

Heat the cream and sugar in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the persimmon/cinnamon mixture, then pour the warm contents of the saucepan over the gelatin and mix until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Divide the panna cotta into the prepared molds and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Maple-glazed Pecans (adapted from Bon Appetit)
Makes about 2 cups

These pecans can be made up to 3 days ahead of when you plan to use them. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

8 ounces/ 220 grams pecan halves
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons fine granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 325F/ 170C. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Mix the syrup and sugar in a bowl, then stir in the pecans, tossing to coat and transfer to the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.

While the pecans are in the oven, place a large piece of foil on your work surface. When the pecans are done, transfer them to the foil and separate any nuts that stick together with a fork. Leave to cool.

To serve:

Glazed pecans
2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional)

If you’re serving the panna cotta on plates, run a knife around the edge of each mold and turn the panna cotta out onto the plate. Garnish with 4 or 5 pecan pieces and a drizzle of maple syrup.


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show hide 16 comments

El - Sorry the first recipe didn’t work but this looks like a definite success. Beautiful photographs too!

deana@lostpastremembered - Awesome photo and brilliant combination…. persimmons are one of those forgotten fruits. Really great post, thanks!

OysterCulture - Persimmions are relatively new to me, and I’ve had fun using them in different recipes. Now thanks to you I have a new one to check out. It looks amazing.

Danielle - Oyster Culture: I’d love to check out the other ways you’ve used persimmons – hope you like this one ;)

Thanks all for your comments!

Karine - I am also an impulsive buyer these time when it comes to persimmon. They are so genial!

By the way, your panna cottas look stunning. Thanks for sharing! :)

Kasey - What a seasonally-perfect dessert! I’m wondering how I can make this using gelatin sheets? Thanks!

jo - Persimmon panna cotta! Who would have thought of using this fruit in this way for a dessert. Brilliant!

Mrs. L - Absolutely beautiful photo as always. Again, makes me want to eat something I usually don’t like! (not a big fan of persimmons).

veggie wedgie - Sweet! Nice photos :)

Danielle - Hi Kasey, from what I’ve seen on other recipes, you should soak the sheets in cold water for about 10 minutes to soften them, then wring dry and stir them into the warm cream mixture before leaving to set. You would need about 3 sheets for this recipe.

You might also want to check out David Lebovitz’s post on working with gelatin, at: http://bit.ly/73cDFj

Mrs L: Not many people are! They don’t have a very strong flavor, making them perfect for creamy desserts and puddings ;)

anna - Ooh, lovely! I’ve recently fallen in love with persimmons. I made a frozen yogurt with some the other day – it’s so good!

rabbittrick - beautiful, beautiful, heartwarming pictures!

What a lovely set. I’ve never tried fuyu persimmons, or persimmons for that matter, and I seem to be missing out on this burgeoning trend. they sound like a cross between oranges and nectarines. beautiful things!

Mona - Woow , the photos are amazing :)

keep on

Phoo-D - What a brilliant idea for fuyus! I love persimmons and we eat as many as we can when they are in season. I’ll have to remember this for next Fall. Gorgeous photos too!

recipe swap: persimmon panna cotta « rosemarried - [...] But, then I came across this gem of a recipe: Persimmon Panna Cotta with Maple Glazed Pecans. [...]

thanksgiving 2013 – avocado bravado - - […] Persimmon panna cotta with pecans – As much as I want to make a pie this year, I know it won’t happen. I’m crossing my fingers that gelatin can be found easily in the foofy markets of downtown Ann Arbor. […]

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