Thursday, November 30, 2023

A Gift of Fuyu Persimmons

A friend has a Fuyu Persimmon tree growing very close to her porch - she just has to reach out to harvest this beautiful oriental fruit. We were recently the recipients of some of the fall harvest. This large bag of fresh Fuyu Persimmons offered the opportunity to discover a new fruit, and required a search on the internet to discover how to process and utilize this special gift. The fruit can be eaten directly out of hand, like an apple, but I decided to cook them down to create a pulp to be used in cooking. The directions found on the internet vary slightly, some suggest cooking them down, others simply toss them in a heavy duty processor to create the puree.
I opted for the cooked process, which involved removing the top portion of the fruit and chunking the remaining part. I tossed the chunks into a large pot with about a cup of water, and steamed them down, much like you would applesauce. No sugar necessary as they have natural sweetness already.

Once the fruit was soft, I pureed the mixture, essentially turning it into a sauce. I tried a small bowl of it, topped with cinnamon, and decided it had a flavor very similar to warm and spicy pumpkin.

 This Persimmon bread was my first baked good attempt. Laden with walnuts and raisins, it's a moist and flavorful tea bread. The recipe can be found here at Natasha's Kitchen. It is quite tasty and pairs perfectly with a malty Assam tea. A few additional bags of the pureed persimmon are in the freezer to be turned into something else equally as delicious.
 The Essential Herbal Blog has a range of interesting posts about persimmons, both the native Persimmon and the oriental Fuyu persimmon. Visit their blog, and enter 'persimmons' in the search box to find additional informative posts.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Our Annual Holiday Tea!

The tea room is decorated for the holidays, and our traditional holiday tea was held on Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. The culinary Santa display is in the foyer again this year, and the swag garland is decorated with festive red and gold poinsettia and cheerful red bows. Reds and greens abound.

For the tea, we served a Cranberry Apple Salad complete with craisins, red onion, red and green apple pieces, feta cheese, and a cranberry dressing.

The sandwich medley featured a Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad on white bread, Spinach and Artichoke Parmesan square, Cucumber and Radish round with herbed goat cheese, sliced Turkey and Havarti cheese on Cranberry Bread, a warm and toasty Cordon Bleu on French bread, and Cranberry and Brie in a phyllo cup.

Traditional English Cream Scones and Cinnamon Chip Scones were served put in the oven to bake while the guests enjoyed the sandwiches. The fragrance of the scones baking wafted into the tearoom from the kitchen. Served with sweet cream and strawberry preserves alongside some fresh fruit, this just might be the favorite course of many of our guests.

And a trio of petite desserts rounded out the afternoon tea event. We served a miniature Peanut Butter Pie topped with chocolate ganache and whipped cream, there was a petite White Cake with whipped buttercream, cranberry glaze, and topped with a holly leaf, and a Cherry Almond Tea Cake with a white chocolate drizzle.
         Wishing you much joy and happiness this holiday season!