Friday, January 6, 2012

Persimmon Bars: Persimmonies

Two Teacups, Two Persimmonies, One Plate
Twelfth Night Tea for Two

Recipe by Robin


It’s the very last day of the holiday season, the feast of the Epiphany. I’m happy to see that some of my neighbors still have the holiday spirit, and have lit their Christmas lights again tonight (one household lights theirs year-round, but let’s disregard that for the moment). This night, also known as Twelfth Night, celebrates the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem. Twelfth Night is also a Pagan holiday, a time for masquerades, practical jokes, and for turning the usual social order upside down. Agricultural customs such as wassailing the fields to drive out evil have been traditionally observed on this night.


To celebrate this catch-all holiday, here’s a recipe I made up that’s a cross between a bar cookie and a snacking cake. It’s not easy to eat just one of these bars.They’re moist, moderately sweet, and have a slight sensuous stickiness, due to the in-season Hachiya persimmons in them. Check my previous post to learn about preparing these persimmons for baking.

Mixing Bowl with Partly Mixed Ingredients
Last Night of Holiday Baking
 I usually put walnuts in these bars, but have experimented with breaking up a dark chocolate bar into chunks (about 1 cup of chocolate chunks) instead. The chocolate makes the persimmonies taste completely different and more chocolate-oriented, but the persimmons and cinnamon do complement the chocolate flavor.

Most Hachiya persimmon recipes call for combining the persimmon pulp with baking soda, then letting the mixture sit and thicken. Somehow this allows the acid from the fruit to combine with the alkali of the baking soda such that the baked good will rise, as well as making the pulp (and thus the baked good) less watery. If someone knows the culinary chemistry here, please enlighten us with a comment.

Hope you're enjoying your Twelfth Night. I wish you a happy ending to your holiday season.

Plated Persimmonie
Perfect Persimmonie
Persimmonies
Makes 18 – 24 bars

½ cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup persimmon pulp
½ tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1 ½ c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
¾ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 11 inch baking pan.

Mash persimmons with potato masher and stir in baking soda. Combine thoroughly. Set aside.

Melt butter and mix together with sugar in a medium bowl. Let cool.

When butter-sugar mixture is cool, beat eggs until light. Beat eggs into butter-sugar mixture until smooth. Scrape persimmon mixture from its bowl into the butter-sugar-egg mixture. Beat until uniform (there will be some persimmon chunks). Stir in vanilla.

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Sift into the batter, and stir until smooth. Fold in chopped nuts (or chocolate chips) if using.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack before slicing.

2 comments:

  1. These look delicious. Nutmeg also goes well with persimmons, wonder how it would do in these bars. Unfortunately I am out of persimmon pulp for the season. Have to save this for next year.

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  2. Thanks for the nutmeg tip. I'll try to work that into future recipes (and this one). Still have quite a bit of persimmon pulp here this year, an unusually late season.

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