Recipe: Persimmon Cranberry Crisp

18 Nov

In the past, the closest I have come to persimmons was drinking a cool, delicate dessert drink at Korean restaurants. Soo Jeung Gwa (many different spellings) is a sweet, jewel-colored palate refresher, and I was intrigued to learn that it is made from dried persimmons. But still,  I did not encounter any actual, fresh persimmons until recently, when I saw some  Fuyu persimmons at the grocery store and impulsively bought them because they were so pretty:

But what to do with them? At first, nothing, since they were not ripe and I had heard horror stories about people biting into unripe Hachiya persimmons. Even though this isn’t a problem with Fuyus, I decided to wait just to be safe–and also to think about what to make with them. I settled upon a Persimmon Cranberry crisp, since in the United States, November is a cranberry time of year. Plus, I thought the two colors–orange and red–would look nice together. And finally, who doesn’t like a nice warm crisp, with vanilla ice cream at the ready?

The topping is one I have long used for fruit crisps: a very generous amount that is enough to top 6 c. of any type of fruit that you may fancy. It’s also vegan or omnivore friendly, depending on your preference. Note: I’m used to making big batches, but this recipe can easily be halved and made in an 8×8 or 9×9 pan.

Persimmon Cranberry Crisp
Serves 12-15

Orange-Wine Syrup
1/4 c. red wine (whatever is on hand)
1 tsp. orange zest
1/4 c. fresh orange juice
1 star anise
2/3 c. sugar

Fruit
4 c. fresh cranberries (float in a large bowl of cold water, carefully pick through and remove any that are soft, but make sure you end up with 4 c.)
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. fresh orange juice
5 Fuyu persimmons, diced (cut out leafy core at top, slice in half, peel, and then dice)

Topping
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. oats (can be old-fashioned or quick oats, or a mix)
1/3 c. chopped walnuts
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. non-hydrogenated margarine (or butter)
1/2 c. canola oil

Preparation
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly spray (or grease) a 9×13 baking pan.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine wine, zest, orange juice, star anise, and sugar. Stirring occasionally, bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; discard the star anise.
3. Add the cranberries to the syrup in the saucepan. Combine the cornstarch with the 1 tbsp. orange juice, pour over cranberries, and mix well. Fold in diced persimmons, then pour fruit mixture into prepared pan.
4. For topping, combine first five ingredients in a large bowl. Mix in margarine/butter and canola oil until evenly distributed and topping becomes clumpy.
5. Using very clean hands, take a small handful of topping and squeeze it together. Break it into a couple pieces and begin placing strategically on top of fruit mixture in prepared pan. (The objective is to have some topping chunks, rather than just crumbs.) Repeat with all the topping, filling in gaps with more topping pieces/crumbs.
6. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until crisp looks golden and bubbly. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes, then serve with vanilla ice cream.

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