Persimmon Cloud

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If I were to have only one fruit tree, it would be a persimmon tree. Ambrosia!  Ripe persimmons can be found in the grocery stores for those not lucky enough to have a back yard endowed with such a tree (or a crew of squirrels that demolish the persimmons before they are even ripe)! We try to protect the fruit by tying bags over them.  The result: one squirrel running on the electrical wires with a bag on his head!

About the time the less-knowledgeable produce managers are ready to toss the fruit because they are getting ugly and terribly soft — bingo, they go on sale at the peak of their goodness. This is an unctuous fruit, seductive, and I’ll bet that Eve’s apple was actually a persimmon! Not exactly low sugar, however!  So maybe not keto.  But definitely paleo.

Having created this dessert as an experiment, we decided it was so good that we had it four times in a row! We enlisted friends to help us decide on a good name and thus was born “Persimmon Cloud”.

The maple walnuts are kept in jars during the Holiday season to decorate various items and provided the perfect foil for this creamy dessert! For guests, one would not include the persimmon peels, but when no one is watching, I down them and enjoy their chewy, sweet goodness.

Persimmon Cloud (serves 4)

2 soft, ripe Hachiya persimmons

Crème Anglaise

  • 2 C half and half (or 1 C A2 heavy cream and 1C water for primal/low carb option, or 2 C full fat coconut milk)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped into cream
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 C coconut sugar or Lakanto
  • 1 T Grand Marnier or other liqueur (optional)
  • 1/2 C maple-glazed walnuts (recipe to follow)(optional)

Up to one day before serving, make the Crème Anglaise. Bring half and half or cream mixture and seeds from vanilla pod (see note) to a simmer in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile whisk the eggs in a separate small bowl until thoroughly mixed. Add 1/3 C Swerve or coconut sugar to eggs and whisk to combine. Remove cream from heat and gradually add a soup ladle of the hot cream to the egg mixture while whisking. Once the egg mixture is warmed from enough hot cream, pour the mixture into the hot cream and place over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a temperature of 177 F on a candy thermometer, or coats the back of a wooden spoon and has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and add liqueur. Cover and refrigerate to thicken and cool. This keeps very well in the refrigerator for several days. This mixture is beautifully flecked with the precious vanilla bean scrapings.

At serving time, take a handful of the maple walnuts and chop them into reasonably small pieces and set aside. Scoop several tablespoons of Crème Anglise into the bottom of each of four bowls. Cut the stem off of each persimmon. Then cut the fruit in half through the stem end. Cut each half into four quarters lengthwise. With a spoon, carefully start at one end of a quarter and scrape the flesh in one piece from the peel – a bit of a delicate operation, but once you get the hang of it, simple. Place each quarter gently and artfully on top of the cream – four to a bowl. Sprinkle the crushed maple walnuts on top. Prepare to swoon!

Note: Vanilla pods, though costly, give a vanilla essence that cannot be duplicated with even the very finest vanilla liquid. For this dessert, and for the holidays, it is well worth the splurge. Cut the bean in half crosswise and with a very sharp small knife, split the bean lengthwise along its flat side. Take each piece and scrape the seeds with the tip of that knife into the cream.

Maple Glazed Walnuts

3-4 C walnut halves

  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (Grade B is fine)
  • 1 T butter, goat butter, or ghee
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

This is a recipe designed for your cast-iron skillet, or a very heavy bottomed fry pan that can withstand the heat of a syrup. Place syrup, butter, and cinnamon in pan and whisk together. Stir over medium heat, watching for the mixture to darken and thicken (watch carefully!). Be sure it has thickened enough to coat a nut and immediately remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla, then the nuts and stir and toss until nuts are evenly coated with the mixture. Spread onto a sheet of waxed paper and separate (I find wooden chopsticks very useful for this task). Once separated, sprinkle lightly with a little excellent coarse Celtic salt.

As they cool, the glaze will turn cloudy, otherwise, you didn’t cook it long enough. If that happens, they are still delicious, just can’t be chopped or stored – eat up! If they do turn cloudy, these keep a very long time in a covered container and serve many culinary purposes, such as decorating orange salads, various desserts, or served alone for nibbles.

Note: For those who can’t have A2 dairy, regular coconut milk could be substituted for the half and half. Even coconut cream (Trader Joes) would work.