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Sunday, June 19, 2011

persimmon packets.

It was not the alliteration that drawn me to this recipe, I assure you, as the original name was actually Apricot Packets, basically wedges of the fruit with sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper and tea leaves sprinkled over before wrapped in a parcel of parchment or aluminum and tightly sealed, like its fate when being sent into the oven. I got this recipe, not surprisingly, from a book entitled Desserts by Pierre Herme. I think such an exotic recipe can be expected from him and is exactly why he is one of my respected pastry heroes, never yawn-inducing and absolutely brilliant.

I chose to substitute persimmon simply because that's what I had and also as it was bordering on the blackened, over-ripened stage. I wonder if you feel the same way too- spoiling fruit? Bake them, not throw! At least that rule applies to bananas.

I've seen this method of wrapping an edible with aromatics in a packet applied to fish before, in one of Jamie Oliver's cookbooks, but I've never seen one for desserts. I guess that was the deciding factor for me to carry out this recipe.

This is a baked dessert which doneness cannot be foretold by scent, but rather by the puffiness of its packet. When it looks like an inflated balloon, you can take it out. Snip open the parcel while it's hot, if you choose to unfold the creases with your bare hands, I daresay you will need to freeze your hands first. Anyway, when you release the steam from inside the packet, you should get this heady scent of citrus with pepper and tea following meekly behind. That was what I got, but because there were no specific amounts of aromatics given, you may get a different perfume depending on how heavy or light-handed you were.

This actually had a accompanying sauce made up of ricotta cheese, sugar, honey and orange flower water. But I changed the orange flower water to vanilla because I didn't have any. I thought I could use cottage instead of ricotta cheese and I could have worked. I say could have because I never got round to sampling the sauce fully. My cottage cheese turned bad, to cut a long story short, and it tasted horrible. So I can't account for the taste. Although, the thickness of the sauce was just right despite the low fat substitution. 

i love eating out of jars these days

Because I'm not sure if I can repost the recipe here, I'm just going to give you a brief rundown of the ingredients. Anyway, the measurements given are not exact. So what you need are: apricots each cut into eights, 1 tablespoon of sugar per 16 slices, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per 16 slices (adjust according to taste), lemon zest, salt, pepper and tea (from a tea bag). Package each portion in aluminum foil or parchment. Bake in a 350F oven until the parcel is puffy. 

I hope you find this as interesting as I did!

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