Friday, December 2, 2011

Kaki Pommes

                                                               Soft Persimmons

It is the time of year for one of my favorite fruits, the persimmon or kaki, which in France is found in two textures, the kaki pomme ,which as the name says can be eaten like an apple, or the tomato shaped persimmon which is eaten soft.  

 My pick is the thinner elongated Kaki Pomme, or the "Sharon fruit" cultivated for France mainly in Israel  ( from the Sharon Plain ) and Spain.

You have to admit that the design of the persimmon is a work of genius with its bright coral orange surface and perfect flower calyx stem.  It is enough to buy some for a centerpiece but they are a treat to the palette as well.

There was a time that I would not dare to eat the fruit.  As a child I was challenged to eat an unripe persimmon which curled my tongue into a furry twist with all the tannins it contained.  And when I dared to eat a ripe,  tomato shaped one I found it too soft and slippery and still do .  For years  I admired persimmons only for there stunning Autumn beauty and spicy name.

 Just a few years back though, I was asked to try a piece of ripe kaki pomme..... Sweet and different. Now every season I bring home a few each week.. when I find myself near an outdoor or Asian market.

But a warning:  do not throw caution aside when you consider when to indulge in your kaki pomme . A ripe kaki pomme is softer by far than an apple which should be crisp and firm.  A kaki pomme is firm to the touch but like a good Comice pear , the flesh will give a little to a gentle squeeze of finger and thumb.

                                                                  Kaki Pommes

Persimmons come ripe in nature only after the first cold spell (although commercially they are ripened with carbon dioxide).

  There is a big Persimmon tree on the street nearby my house, but at the moment no one seems interested in gathering the fruit.  Perhaps it is because the best way to pick persimmons really is to wait until the fruit is ready to drop and not before.  

 Too bad most of my neighbor's fruit ends up in the street like a kindergartner's finger painting smeared into a De Kooning paste.  

  Still I have my Sharon fruit ripening on my kitchen counter.   So I'm chuffed, as the English say.