“If it be not ripe, it will draw a man’s mouth awry, with much torment, but when it is ripe, it is as delicious as an apricot.”
Captain John Smith

Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse 1Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse … light, smooth, deep and delicious. The persimmon puree adds a pop of colour that welcomes fall with it’s bright orange like nothing else. OK maybe a papaya, but then the papaya lacks the translucent jelly like beauty of this special fruit.

A couple of years ago, we landed in Sydney on a cold night. I headed straight for the kitchen since I knew my sweet Ukrainian friend would always have something special waiting for me. I was duly rewarded… a line of persimmons sat neatly on her windowsill. It was instant fruit therapy, but they weren’t ripe, she pointed out. 

hachiya persimmonsCut to now. After waiting almost forever I gently inquired at my local fruit & vegetable vendor why persimmons, or Ramphal/Amarphal as they are locally referred to, weren’t showing up yet. You see Ruchira in Islamabad had already excitedly announced their foray, made a mousse and waxed eloquent about this delicious fruit.

Hachiya persimmonsI immediately developed persimmon withdrawal symptoms! Must have been my lucky day, because the guy at the shop came back two minutes later saying I should have asked for something else. He cranked open a fruit crate to uncover lines of persimmons, that too hachiyas, the variety I so love! They were all tickled pink that I asked for something and it popped out of the crate! I was chuffed!

hachiya persimmons Of course they were unripe. Very firm, very hard and barely a deep orange. Bite into a persimmon at this disastrous stage and you will be sorely {or surely} punished! It’s a strange fruit. When unripe it’s very edgy and astringent. Make the mistake, and you might never come back to it.

hachiya persimmonsBut allow them to sit out on the kitchen counter {or windowsill}; be patient, VERY PATIENT. Mine took almost 3 weeks to ripen. They will turn a bright, translucent orange, evenly coloured, with a few blackish spots; very soft to touch. The time is ripe to chill them and dig in, or just dig in if you can’t wait any longer! Sweet as honey and slippery like jelly, it’s an amazing fruit!

Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse 2I HAD to make something with the puree. Unfortunately, only one hachiya was completely ripe, the fingertips sinking right into the fruit when I gently pressed it. Some quick thinking later I decided to make a dark chocolate mousse {inspired by this two ingredient winning recipe by Hervé This}. Had to keep the dieting diva in mind as she is off on another hair brained dieting venture.

Dark Chocolat & Persimmon Mousse The chocolate had to be dark {as it’s good for dieting she announced as she readily nibbled away on my precious stash}. 85% dark Lindt it was, and then a tasting later I figured it could use some low fat cream and a dash of sugar. The Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse  is so rewarding to make, considering just a combination of chocolate and water can yield something so magical.

Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse I added a dash of Grand Marnier {very optional}. It gave very slight orange undertones, enhancing the taste of the mousse gently. I did add a small dash to the persimmon puree as well to tie the flavours in. Separated by a layer of unsweetened low fat cream, it was a dessert we enjoyed!Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse  Any dessert serving followed by ‘Can I have more?‘ is a sign of success! This Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse  was one such example!


[print_this]Recipe: Dark Chocolate & Persimmon Mousse your picture

Summary: The dark chocolate mousse is fab on its own. Sensuous, smooth, satisfying, intense … everything that good quality dark chocolate promises to be. Top it with seasonal fruit, persimmon in this case, and some low fat cream. Mousse recipe adapted from here, inspired by Hervé This.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

  • Dark chocolate mousse
  • 200 grams bittersweet (%70 cocoa solids) chocolate, chopped
  • 170g water
  • 10g Grand marnier {optional}
  • 30g sugar, optional
  • 200ml low fat cream, room temperature
  • Topping
  • Pulp of 1 large ripe hachiya persimmon + 1 tsp grand marnier {latter optional}


  1. Place a large mixing bowl on top of another slightly smaller one, filled with ice and cold water (the bottom of the large bowl should touch the ice). Set aside.
  2. Put chocolate and water (also sugar and/or liquor if you’re using) in a medium-sized pan and melt the chocolate over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour the melted chocolate into the mixing bowl sitting on top of ice and water, and start whisking with a wire whisk (or an electrical hand-held mixer) until thick. Watch the texture as you whip and make sure not to over-whip as it will make the mousse grainy.
  4. Add 100ml low fat cream and whip to mix
  5. Divide between 6 serving glasses/goblets
  6. Chill for an hour to set.
  7. Divide remaining 100g low fat cream between the 6.
  8. Chill for an hour. Divide the persimmon pulp between the 6, garnish with mint leaves if desired.


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“Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world’s perfect food.”
Michael Levine

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots … these were decadent. Delicious, bowl scraping good and soul satisfying. The season and the colours of the humble little kumquat, a sour citrus fruit that was until a few years ago just an ornamental plant, all inspire creativity. This dessert was the result of one such inspired moment!

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots We always referred to kumquats as Chinese oranges or tangerines. Food blogging threw up new names. So many references to a similar fruit by the name of kumquat, and then the Google Gods demystified it. These are round kumquats, the Asian cousins of the elliptical round ones that colour the web every now and then.Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots The boughs are hanging heavy with fruit, ready for picking, and more buds and green kumquats are already showing up. My mothers shrub too is full with fruit too. This seems to be a good year for this tart citrus fruit.

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots I’ve done lots with these beauties this season … Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte, Kumquat Marmalade, and No Bake Cheesecake Pots. My mind works overtime thinking of how much more we can do with kumquats.

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots I had serious dark chocolate and orange cravings one day. Two years ago I had  made Dark chocolate & sour orange tartlets. My blog was hacked shortly after that and some posts disappeared. I didn’t have the time to check then. Recently when I looked for the tartlets high and low, I drew a blank on PAB.

Dark Chocolate & Sour Orange TartletsThe pictures are still firmly etched in my head. Googling led me to FoodGawker and I was relieved to see I had indeed made the tartlets, only that the recipe post has been lost forever. I have attempted to recreate it. I remember cooking the whole fruit then.Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots If I wasn’t inspired enough by the fruit of the season, I was even more fortunate that day. Look at these beautiful little ceramic cups and single serve creamers that I got from Urban DazzleAdorable!!  Love at first sight, it brought out the inner child in me. Took me back to when we were little girls, playing with miniature tea sets.  How could I not be inspired?

Urban Dazzle CeramicsThere’s something about white ceramic bakeware. It holds so much promise. These little round ramekins are one of the best additions to my bursting bakeware collection. There is so much you can do in them … cream caramels, panna cotta, ice cream in summer, chocolate custard pots, lime possets. Do you have any more ideas dear readers? What would you make in these little beauties?

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots One look at them as I unpacked them, smooth ceramic, neat, clean edges, aesthetically designed and my imagination took wing. There was no time to bake so I took the fast track to dessert. A winning combination of sour orange and dark chocolate, topped with a light white chocolate cream sauce. We were back in business! Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots Dark chocolate from Thorntons married a bittersweet sour orange puree to make thick custard like pastry cream. A light cream chocolate sauce made with melt in the mouth white chocolate made it sublime. Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots Candied kumquats tied the flavours together with some white chocolate garnishing. All we heard after dinner was ‘scrape, scrape, scrape’.

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots You cannot go wrong with good quality chocolate. The pots were bowl licking good as might be the case with the kids. They too fell in love with the little ‘baby’ creamers, so charming and so unreal in this world which is in so much of a hurry sometimes. It was wonderful to sit back and enjoy the petite servings.

Kumquat LiqueurIn the days to come I will try and find more ways to use the bounty of nature, i.e. kumquats in full strength. Bitter Kumquat Marmalade has been made; distributed too! I bottled some Kumquat Liqueur a few days ago in a decanter my Mum gave me. The colours are so pretty!

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots A few thoughts before I take you to the recipe. Do use good quality chocolate as that is what makes simple desserts like these absolutely shine! Also, if you prefer a smoother texture, you can always skip the almond meal. I just like to add ‘nuts’ in any form to my food.

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots

This post is brought to you in conjunction with Thorntons.

[print_this]Recipe: Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots your picture

Summary: Delicious, bowl scraping good and soul satisfying, these no bake Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots are inspired by fruit in season. The very tart and colourful kumquats lend deep ‘orangey’ flavour to the dark chocolate, and colour to the presentation.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

  • Kumquat Puree {Your require a few tbsps. Store the ramainder in a jar in the fridge}
  • 250g kumquats, halved, seeds removed
  • 250g sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • Creme Pots
  • 100g kumquat puree {recipe follows}
  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 25g raw sugar {or regular}
  • 20g cornflour
  • 200ml low fat cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 100ml milk 2%
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 25g almond meal
  • White chocolate cream
  • 100ml low fat cream
  • 25g white chocolate, grated
  • 25g white chocolate for garnishing if desired
  • Candied Kumquats
  • 100g kumquats, sliced, seeds removed
  • 200g sugar
  • 200ml water


  1. Candied Kumquats
  2. Place sugar, water and sliced kumqauts in a saucepan. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the kumquats become translucent  Handle gently and strain the kumquats and reserve in a bowl.
  3. Return the syrup to the pan and reduce to about 2/3rd amount. Return the sliced candied kumquats to the syrup, cool and refrigerate until required.
  4. Kumquat puree
  5. Thermomix:
  6. Place all ingredients in bowl of TM, cook on 100, reverse speed 2 for 8 minutes. Blend until smooth.
  7. Stove Top:
  8. Place kumquats, sugar and vanilla bean in a saucepan. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the kumquat peel is soft. Remove bean {or leave in as I did}. Puree until smooth.
  9. Place 100g kumquat puree with the dark chooclate and melt over a bain marie, or in the microwave.
  10. White chocolate cream
  11. Gently heat the cream, and pour over the white chocolate. Mix until smooth. Cool.
  12. For the pastry cream:
  13. Thermomix:
  14. Place 100g kumquat puree with the dark chocolate in TM bowl and run at speed 4, 10 seconds.
  15. Place remaining ingredients except almond meal. Cook at 90C, speed 4, 7 minutes. Add the almond meal and run at speed 6 for 30 seconds.
  16. Stove Top:
  17. Mix together the sugar, cornflour, cream and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolks and whisk until smooth.
  18. Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
    Add the milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 10-12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. {If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer}
  19. Fold in the dark chocolate-kumquat puree, and then uniformly stir in the almond meal.
  20. Transfer the cream to serving bowls immediately, tap gently to level out, and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate at least 2-3 hours before serving.
  21. Assemble
  22. Top each bowl with 1-2 tbsp of white chocolate cream, some candied kumquats and white chocolate scrolls. Serve immediately or chill until required.

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“I wanted to make a cookbook full of food that you’d absolutely love, because I love all of you.”
Ree Drummond

Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk RollsOf course I got tempted again! What’s not to love about Sweet Orange Rolls? The day I saw these delicious rolls from Rees new cookbook, I was in a trance. 24 hours later, my kitchen was enticingly orangey, deeply strawberryish … and like the best bakery in town. These Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry and Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls were winners.Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls I knew they would be! I am a huge fan of The Pioneer Womans cinnamon roll dough, a dough I have endlessly experimented with outstanding results each time. If the Apple Cranberry Almond Olive Oil Pull-Apart Loaf & Popovers weren’t a screaming success enough, these Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Olive Oil Pull-Apart Bread reconfirmed it!Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls So when I saw the dashing and talented {in Rees words of course, but seriously, it’s true} Brians post on  A Thought For Food, I knew my homemade bitter tangerine marmalade had found a new destination. This has turned out to be the yummiest one yet. It was a bread dessert waiting to be baked, and while I worked on the dough I made changes, just a few changes.Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk RollsNothing radical as the basic recipe is a winner. I had some buttermilk on hand, so in it went instead of milk. Then, when I opened the fridge to take out the jar of marmalade, I couldn’t resist thinking the oranges might enjoy some colourful company …Roasted Balsamic StrawberriesSo the marmalade got slathered over with some roasted balsamic strawberries I had made the day before. These are delightful to have in the fridge. For times when you buy too many strawberries in temptation and then panic that they will spoil, this is a good recipe. It keeps them safe for at least a few days longer.Roasted Balsamic Strawberries I make small portions at a time and put them into fruit bakes, sandwich and top a cake with cream, or drizzle a few spoonfuls over a parfait or ice cream. You can see them in these – Quark Mousse Cake, Quarkauflauf, Eggless Caramel Cream Cakes. Just yesterday I topped a cheesecake with the left overs. So many ways and so much fun; taste, colour and variety all packed into one jar! Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk RollsBecause they are oven roasted, they are nice and thick, they don’t ‘leak‘ extra liquid into the dough to make it soggy. To keep the ‘not so terrible any more’ teen happy I threw in some dark chocolate too. Orange, strawberry and chocolate together worked some magic in there to serve up some darned delicious dessert rolls! We loved them … LOTS! {I made 2 individual pop over rolls too with left over dough}.Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk RollsHow do I describe something bursting with the freshness of orange, seduced by the heady combination of deep roasted strawberries and dark chocolate … ooeeey, gooeey, wonderful. They were fabulous warm, and very very good at room temperature. And with obligatory lashings of unsweetened low fat cream, even more DELICIOUS!Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk RollsThis is my new favourite dessert – light, eggless, fruity, chocolaty. I love it! Dark chocolate only makes good things even gooder better. It’s adapted minimally from the Rees new cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks – Food From My Frontier. If the recipe is anything to go by, the book has to be a winner.Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls I made a half quantity and am glad I did. Half was hard to keep away from, how could we have  justified digging into 48 rolls? Next 24 to be made soon, and more bitter marmalade making coming up just for these! Yes, they were that good! Thank you Brian for the inspiration to bake this ‘miracle‘! Loved your ‘thought for food!

[print_this]Recipe: Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls
your picture

Summary: Sweet dessert rolls bursting with the freshness of orange flavour, seduced by deep roasted strawberries and then given the kick of dark chocolate … all ooeeey, gooeey, wonderful. Adapted minimally from The Pioneer Woman Cooks – Food From My Frontier

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes {plus resting time}

  • Buttermilk Dough
  • 240ml {1 cup} buttermilk
  • 70gm {1/4 cup} granulated sugar
  • 60ml {1/4 cup} vegetable oil
  • 1 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
  • 270gm {2 1/4 cups} all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Filling
  • 50gm {1/4 cup} unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp orange marmalade
  • 1 serving roasted balsamic strawberries {recipe follows}
  • 100gm dark chocolate chips {good quality}
  • 1/2 cup {1 stick} butter, melted
  • Icing
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 60gm {1/2 cup} powdered sugar
  • 50gm {1/4 cup} unsalted butter, melted
  • 2-3 tbsp milk, room temperature
  • Dash of salt
  • Roasted Balsamic Strawberries
  • 225gm strawberries
  • 30gm  {2tbsp} brown sugar
  • 15ml {1tbsp} balsamic vinegar


  1. In a large saucepan over low heat, heat the milk, granulated sugar, and oil until warm but not hot. Add the yeast and 2 cups of flour, then mix and transfer to a bowl. Cover and let it rise for at least an hour.
  2. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. {Thermomix: warm milk, sugar,oil, yeast and flour in TM bowl. Mix at Speed 6 for 5 seconds. Knead at intermittent speed for 2 minutes. Leave dough in TH for an hour until it doubles. Cover TM if weather is cold. Add baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix on reverse speed 2 for 10 seconds.}
  4. Roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 15 inches wide by 10 inches deep. You’ll want it to be as thin as you can get so that you can add plenty of goo.
    Drizzle the melted butter all over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to smear it all around so that it coats evenly.
  5. Spread the orange marmalade all over the buttered dough, distributing it as evenly as you can, followed by the roasted balsamic strawberries.  Sprinkle as much good quality dark chocolate all over the two …
  6. Using both hands in a back-and-forth motion, gradually roll the dough toward you into one long log. {I took a little long getting here, so the dough began to rise. It’s a slightly shaggy dough, so might be a good idea to roll it on parchment, especially if you fill it ‘up’ like I did!}
  7. Pinch the seam to seal it. Slice the log-o’-dough into 1/2 inch pieces.
  8. Preheat the oven to 190C. Place the rolls in a buttered baking dish and allow them to rise for 20 minutes while the oven preheats. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until nice and golden.
  9. While the rolls are baking, make the icing.  Add the zest and juice of 1 orange to a bowl. Add the powdered sugar and salt, some milk.
  10. Then some melted butter and whisk it together until it’s nice and smooth and lovely.
  11. Pull the rolls out of the oven when they’re golden brown and drizzle on the icing right off the bat. The piping hot rolls will suck that gorgeous icing right down into their crevices and the whole thing pretty much becomes a miracle.
  12. Serve them warm.
  13. Roasted Balsamic Strawberries
  14. Toss the quartered strawberries well with the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Bake at 180C for about 45 minutes until nice and bubbly, stirring once or twice. Cool completely, transfer to a clean glass jar and refrigerate.


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