Monday, November 21, 2011

Persimmons in Cranberry Sauce

You don’t have much time. I hope you have all your plans set and ready to go. Did you buy the turkey? Have you set a schedule for thawing it? And what about the mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie? And the cranberry sauce? You’re not thinking of serving The Can, are you?

Well, I’m a die-hard homemade whole-berry cranberry sauce lover, and have made it my personal mission to see that any Thanksgiving table with me at it is going to have some. (After experiencing one sad, sad Thanksgiving that had neither cranberry sauce nor pumpkin pie, even after I asked what I could bring, I vowed to never let it happen again.) While this basic recipe is very good and easy and is probably what I’ll bring to our celebratory table, I recently tried something with a bit of a twist, just for fun.

I based this recipe on one I found at Epicurious after searching for something interesting to do with the Fuyu persimmons I saw at the local supermarket. I had never even eaten persimmons before, but I figured that if they were fruity, they might be nice in cranberry sauce. They do have a mild, sweet fruity flavor, sort of in between a mango and a melon, and that balanced nicely with the tart and slightly bitter cranberries. The flavor of the persimmons also went well with the red wine and whole spices I simmered with the cranberries. (The wine and star anise were in the original recipe, but I added the cinnamon stick for some extra kick.)

This is a good recipe to try if you’re looking for something a little different and very pretty for your holiday table. It’s also good if you want to try something easy that’s just a little exotic, unexpected, and perhaps somewhat impressive, but not too weird. If you don’t want to go with the persimmons, I think the cranberries, wine and spices would make a pretty spectacular dish on their own. Or you might be able to stir in diced apples or pears.

And for those of you who insist on the weird jellied stuff in the can: Ugh! There’s nothing I can do for you. You’re on your own.

Cranberry Sauce with Persimmons and Spice
Adapted from Epicurious

12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries (do not bother to thaw if frozen)
½ cup dry red wine
¼ cup water
1 cup sugar
1 whole star anise
1 small (3-4 inches) cinnamon stick
3 Fuyu persimmons (about 1 pound), trimmed and chopped into about ½ - inch pieces

1. Combine the cranberries, red wind, water, sugar, star anise and cinnamon stick in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil gently for 5-8 minutes or until the cranberries have split and slumped. Stir occasionally.

2. Remove from the heat and let stand 10 minutes.

3. Remove the star anise and cinnamon stick. Stir in the persimmons. Cool to room temperature to serve or chill if making ahead. Best served at room temperature.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Another recipe like this one: Cranberry Sauce (a more traditional whole-berry sauce)

One year ago: Mulled Apple Cider

Two years ago: Grandmama’s Pumpkin Pie

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