Thursday, January 28, 2010

Walnut Persimmon Bars

Perssimons were known to the Greeks as "the fruit of the Gods". It is mentioned in "The Odyssey" as being so delicious that those who ate it forgot about returning home and wanted to stay with the "Lotus Eaters". In Japan, it's name is kaki.
I lived in Japan for two years and ate Japanese food almost exclusively, yet never had the courage to try the beautiful kaki, which was allowed to ripen to a jelly-like state before eating. Maybe this was why I eventually came back home.
This fruit, from the Ojai farmer's market, the last fruit on the trees for this season, is a fuyu persimmon. It is less astringent and the flesh can be eaten when still firm. I think they are beautiful.

I grew up in the North, where the growing season is so short that September found almost every house with green tomatoes lining the window sills, brought inside to save them from the frost. It pleased me to line up these persimmons near the window to let them ripen a little more, but not to the squishy soft stage.

Making the bars couldn't be easier. Cut open the persimmons and remove any seeds. Remove the gorgeous leaf part at the top, and any blemishes on the fruit. Wash and put the persimmon pieces in the Vitamix. I didn't add any sugar because it seemed sweet enough to me. If you regularly eat sugar, sweeten to taste. Chop up walnuts and mix the puree and walnuts together.

These bars are not baked. They are dehydrated. I use an Excalibur dehydrator. Arrange the mixture on a teflex sheet. I made the outside edges higher because I thought the mixture would slump, but it didn't. Dehydrate at 105 degrees F until firm. If you want some extra sweetness, dust organic powdered cane sugar on the bars after you've cut them.....but taste them first. They may just be perfect as they are!

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