Persimmon Flan – I’ve Got My Eye Set On You…BOO!

“Where there is no imagination there is no Horror.”
Arthur Conan Doyle, Sr.
I’ve got my eye set on you, also got my mind set on you, you Bootiful flan!

When Renee @ Flamingo Musings asked last month if I celebrated Halloween, and if I’d like to join her and gang for the Great HallowTweet, a halloween Bloghop, I was quite unsure. Nothing like Halloween here, and actually we don’t get ‘scary stuff’ in stores that I could include in my posts. So I was compelled to say no, but the temptation drew me in. As days went by, ideas kept cropping up, with twitterverse on fire with hallow tweets galore, I was sitting on the edge. I eventually jumped on board the Great HallowTweet and was having fun in no time. I had a flashing thought from a brilliant Halloween post from Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella, & decided to top my flan with an eyeball made out of marzipan. Made some marzipan (from almond meal that I made for my mac escapades), and have to say that my foodie journey is becoming more and more exciting! This flan is made out of persimmons, my first adventure with this very temperamental and unpredictable fruit!
Persimmons, known to the ancient Greeks as “the fruit of the gods” are rightly royal fruit. Had seen this stunning fruit on blogs before but never met one in my life. The sight of the basket full at the local market brought me to a grinding halt. The man at the shop tried desperately to sell me bruised, soft fruit, insisting that the others would ‘catch my throat’, and I gave the poor soul a disdainful look. ”Trying to palm off yesterdays fruit to me, eh?“, so I lovingly sat & chose beautiful firm persimmons in gorgeous fall colours!
A few tweets later, discussions with the Greek God of Food, Petah @Kalofagas, and I was harshly enlightened. What a fruit the persimmon is. Astringent beyond belief if unripe, and luscious to eat when bruised & soft. There are 2 popular varieties, the hachiya and the fuyu, the latter being less astringent, and therefore an easier one to deal with.

I find the persimmon too fiddly for me, somewhat like French macarons. Strange comparison you might think, but both have the potential to bring you to your knees. I’ve been there, done that, with both the persimmon and with macarons, so I really know! Both have the foodie in me perplexed. Just when I think I’ve got a handle on either, they reduce me to tears! Lesson learnt – Fruits of the God & ‘he’ knows how to figure them out! Unfortunately, I found the fruit downright fussy for me. It took me one astringent bite to decide. ACK, it had ‘caught my throat’! Thereafter began my battle. Sat them in a brown paper bag for days. Are they ripe? Cut one … ugh! Finally got 2-3 ripe fruit & was forced to chuck 2-3 unripe ones. Hmmm… just when I was ready to throw the towel in, I saw a tweet from Lisa @ Lisa is Cooking. She made Persimmon Flan, and boy did it look good! WOW!! That was enough for me to get back into the game. I discussed ingredients with her on ever dependable Twitter, and with great inspiration from her, arrived at this beautiful flan. I wouldn’t say that it had a discernable persimmon taste (or maybe I know only of astringent tastes), but the flan was drop dead gorgeous, and very delicious. No eggy taste either. Beautifully behaved, it turned out easily from the mold. I made 3 4″ flans, and 8 tiny little ones in fluted tart pans.
Persimmon Flan
Inspired by advice from Lisa @ Lisa Is Cooking
Persimmon puree

5-6 very ripe fuyu persimmons, calyx (cap)/stem removed
1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp cinnamon powder (optional; you can even use pumpkin pie spice)
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
1/4 cup apple juice

Method:
Place all of the above in a heavy bottom saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes, a bit more if the fruit aren’t very very ripe.
Cool & refrigerate overnight for the flavours to marry.
Discard the cinnamon stalk (& seeds of the persimmon, if any. Mine were seedless), whiz in the blender. Yield 1cup persimmon puree.Caramel
1 cup granular sugar
1 tbsp water
Method:
Make a caramel out of 1 cup granular sugar. Heat 1 cup sugar in a heavy bottom pan,& stir gently only when it begins melting.Once it is golden brown & completely melted, remove form the fire & add 1 tbsp of water. BE CAREFUL at this point as it is dangerously hot, and will splutter. Allow them to bubble for a few seconds & come together. Quickly pour into your molds & twirl the molds around to coat bottom and sides (or only bottoms if you like).Custard:
1 cup persimmon puree
200ml low fat cream (25%)
4 small eggs
1/2 cup almond meal
1 tin/400ml condensed ilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon powder
Method:
Preheat oven to 170C
Place all of the above in a big bowl & whisk for 1 minute to blend.
Pour into prepared caramel lined molds, just below the tops.
Place in a roasting tin, and pour enough hot water in the roasting tin to some about half way up the sides of the molds.
Bake for 25-30minutes, until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Cool, and then chill. (Do not try to turn out the custard warm/hot. It will fall apart) Run a knife around the edges, or give the mold a good shake, and turn it out into he serving plate. Pour any remaining caramel over the top. (Tastes mighty fine with a LITTLE drizzle of cream too)

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

Be sure to take the Halloween hoppa which you will find on my sidebar & check out the rest of the gang on the Great HallowTweet! Thanks for taking me on Renee … BOOOOOO!!
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PITA + PANINI = PITANINI…Crossover bread!!

“The Sky is the daily bread of the imagination”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are 2 posts racing each other in my head at the moment, & I’ve got to panini first. The other one is about herbs, thyme & oregano, which I shall write about soon. Made Panini Rolls a couple of days ago, which I had saved off Nic’s blog @ Cherrapeno last year when she had posted them for Zorra’s World Bread Baking Day. I’ve been wanting to make them for a while, but while winter was here, all yeastly tales were done away with…

Now with spring here, birds chirping, butterflies whizzing around, I’m back to my beloved bread experiments, & decided to make panini rolls. As usual, nothing can be achieved without a little action! I tend to enter into a virtual conversation with Nic whenever I visit her place on the net, & get stupidly distracted. It happened with the Cappuccino Muffins the last time, & with no lessons learnt, happened again this time…but not without redemption! I think it’s overconfidence. First I read the flour as 5oz (the 1lb disappeared while I was reading, I swear it wasn’t there, believe me). Measured 5 oz of flour & wondered how in the world I would get 10 rolls out of 5oz. Back to Nic’s & then I saw 1lb 5oz mysteriously appear in front of my eyes. Gasp, that was a close call!

Message to new bread bakers & less experienced ones like me…learn from my mistakes please. Read the recipe at least thrice, & then set off. I even forgot the olive oil altogether in my hurry to get the dough done. With few modifications & distractions of the ‘Cherrapeno types’, my ‘fat-free’ panini rolls finally got underway…LOL!!

Now I’m calling these pitanini rolls for a reason. Nic mentioned that the rolls have to be ‘fairly thin’, & you can roll them if you like. ‘I like’… so I begin rolling them. Hmmmm …words began forming in the mind again, “Is this fairly thin? Will it rise & become rolly polly?” With this insane conversation taking over my grey matter, I continued rolling with my idea of fairly thin.

I think they became fairly too thin, did rise, but not enough to become rolls. I gave them a milk wash (I cannot do egg wash because of my eggphobia), & sprinkled the tops with oats/sesame seeds. They puffed up nicely & rose in the oven, were a little flat, but had pockets within! Thus ‘Panini roll +Pita pockets = Pitanini roll’ was born by the time we reached sandwich stage!! I substituted a portion of flour with oat flour & some whole wheat flour in the dough, & the result was delicious.

A panino is a sandwich made from a small loaf of bread, typically a ciabatta. The loaf is often cut horizontally and filled with salami, ham, meat, cheese or other food, and sometimes served hot. A grilled panino is buttered on the outside and grilled in a press. The word “panino” is Italian (literally meaning small bread roll), with the plural panini. “Panini” is often used in a singular sense by speakers of English and French. In Italian, panino refers properly to a bread roll and a “panino imbottito” (literally “stuffed panino”) to a sandwich.

PITANINI ROLLS

as adapted from Nic’s post for Panini Rolls @ Cherrapeno
Ingredients:
300gms flour
200gms whole wheat flour
100 gms oat flour (I ground rolled oats in my coffee grinder, & measured 1 cup)
1 tbsps active dried yeast (That’s the only sort I had)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
400ml water (approximately)

Method:

  • Put all the dry ingredients together & mix well. Add the water, about 350ml to begin with, & knead to a soft smooth dough, adding more water as required. Knead well for 5-7 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 10, & make rolls out of them, flatten to about an inch for rolls, or 1/2 an inch for pitaninis, & leave on baking sheet to rise until double.
  • Brush with milk or beaten egg (optional), sprinkle on some rolled oats or sesame seeds (optional), and bake in a pre-heated oven 180C for about 14-16 minutes until golden brown.

For the pitanini/panini/sandwich…

  • Split each roll horizontally, fill with whatever stuffing you fancy. I used chopped up Balsamic Herb Marinated Grilled Chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, a dash of mayo & mozarella. You can use cottage cheese chunks with roasted veggies in there too.
  • The mozarella is a local brand that I’ve used for the first time, Flanders, & was very good indeed. I’ve used their mascarpone just recently in Balsamic Strawberries with Whipped Mascarpone, but the texture & taste of the mascarpone was a little disappointing. On the other hand, their mozarella is quite the best I’ve tried locally.
  • I grilled my sandwiches on a grill pan after a brush of olive oil (not buttah!!). Since I don’t own a panini press, I weighed the sandwich down with a heavy something, grilled it for 5-7 minutes, turned it over & grilled the other side too. Was delicious!!

This is off to Susan @ Wild Yeast for her ongoing event Yeastspotting, & also to my good friend Ben @ What’s Cooking US for his event Homemade#2-March which has the spotlight on BREAD!!

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