Saturday, December 01, 2007

"Hark, I hear the cannons roar!"

TCM ran "Radio Days" this afternoon, my favorite Woody Allen movie. This begins my tribute to Christmas movies and treats. Yeah, you're right, it's not about Jesus, but a lot of the action takes place during the holidays. I've never seen winter in New York, but the scenes of the city dusted with snow make it look like a Christmas globe. My favorite line in the movie happens while Mia Farrow's character tries to get rid of her heavy accent with the help of a dialect coach. "Hark, hark," she tries over and over in front of the bathroom mirror. There is another scene where she ends up in the kitchen of a gangster's Italian mama. I won't give it away, but you must see the movie for yourself.

This easy and delicious "Farm Wife's Tart" comes from Marcella Hazan's "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" by way of "The Amateur Gourmet" blog. The original recipe calls for fresh peeled pears, but I have made this simple tart many times using different fruits such as pineapple chunks, apples, and even fresh berries. Right now there is an abundance of Fuyu persimmons, and at a good price at the local 99 Ranch Market on Atlantic & Garvey in Monterey Park. These are the sweet, crunchy, apple-like texture persimmons, not other ones that must be fully ripe and mushy before using. In honor of Italian mamas everywhere we present the Farm Wife's Persimmon Tart.

THE FARM WIFE'S PERSIMMON TART - adapted from "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" and "The Amateur Gourmet" blog

2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 cup granulated sugar
pinch of plain salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 to 2 lbs. coarsely chopped persimmons
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
additional flour or fine plain bread crumbs for pan
confectioners or icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch cake pan and dust with flour or bread crumbs. I usually omit the dusting step, this cake easily comes out of the pan. Beat the eggs and the milk together in a medium bowl. Add sugar and salt, continue to beat. Add the flour, seasonings and mix to the consistency of a thick pancake batter. Add the chopped chunk fruit and fold in, scraping the bottom of the bowl. Spread into the prepared cake pan, smooth the top, then add the 1/4 cup of cold butter pieces, dotting the top. Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is browned. Invert the cake onto a plate, then onto the serving platter. Dust lightly with confectioners sugar, serve warm. Makes 8-10 servings.


Moon said...

I've never tasted a persimmon, though I can't say why. Could you use apple instead?

La Vida Dulce said...

I have often used apples in this quick recipe. Stay away from the Hachiya persimmons, they are the ones that make your mouth seriously pucker, unless they are fully ripened and mushy. The crisp little Fuyu persimmons are squat and heavy for their size. Those you can eat right away. They will be pretty much past their season by January. To me, the Fuyu persimmons have a creamy sweet fruity taste, with a texture like a crisp apple. They are excellent in quick breads and cakes.