Rummaging around in the freezer this week reminded me of a couple of the treasures I had tucked away for a rainy day. And, rainy day that it is, it seemed exactly the right time.
It was weather just like this last autumn when I was looking after my friends’ fruit trees while they were away.
What was coming into ripeness then was persimmons, that gorgeous fruit (not the gelatinous variety, but the fuyu variety that is firm-ripe). It is delicious to eat and fabulous with cheese, but this was a whole, massive tree full. I had no idea what to do with them all. Last year, similarly placed, I slow-cooked a whole lot of spiced puree and bottled it. It was tasty, but again, there’s only so much of that you want.
This time I kept it simple. The most successful thing I did was to slice and then dry them. I discovered they are a spectacular dried fruit, my favourite of all. Pretty and addictive.
For the rest, I peeled the ones I didn’t eat (though I gather peeling is not necessary), removed the big seeds and threw them in the food processor. I poured the pulp into 1 litre sandwich bags (with just a touch of citric acid) and put them in the freezer. I also cored a few and froze them whole, which also seemed quite successful. I gave most of those bags of fruit back to the tree’s owner, but kept a few for myself.
This week I thawed the last bag out, since it really is time to use them up.
The ice-cream I made is a simple one – the fruit pulp, something sweet (a recipe I consulted suggested honey – I used less than they suggested but less would have been ok. It doesn’t need much at all), some flavours (I added some cinnamon and nutmeg, because I think persimmons go nicely with those warm spices, and because it’s Christmas), whipping cream. Mix it up and put it in the ice-cream churner. Everything was straight out of the fridge so I didn’t have to re-chill it before putting it in the mixer. For the 1 litre of fruit, I used a small tub of heavy cream, and that was split between two goes in the ice cream maker, since it was too much for one.