slow roast persimmon sundae

Slow Roast Persimmon Sundae

How to choose
persimmons. This is precision. 
Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted. 
Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one
will be fragrant. How to eat: 
put the knife away, lay down newspaper. 
Peel the skin tenderly, not to tear the meat. 
Chew the skin, suck it, 
and swallow. Now, eat
the meat of the fruit, 
so sweet, 
all of it, to the heart. 

- excerpt from "Persimmons" by Li-Young Lee

Slow Roast Persimmon Sundae

Lee's poem is the first recipe in this post: if you have ripe persimmons at home, enjoy one just as he describes. But the recipe that follows is for when you receive a gift basket of persimmons for the holidays, or when you find a huge crate of them at Costco. Make sure you let them ripen until they feel almost like water balloons, enjoy as many as you'd like fresh, and then move on to ice cream sundaes (edit: or persimmon upside-down cake) when you feel up for a change.

Slow Roast Persimmon Sundae
Slow Roast Persimmon Sundae

The recipe below is for an autumn ice cream sundae with slow roast persimmons, caramel sauce, and raw pistachios. This is one of those desserts that's perfect for entertaining. In fact, you hardly need a recipe: buy a few pre-made ingredients, roast some persimmons, throw everything together, and you've got an elegant and impressive dessert. Or simply serve your guests a platter of persimmons, because sometimes less is more.

You can certainly buy caramel or dulce de leche for this sundae, but you can also make your own if you feel like it. My favorite way of making caramel is slowly simmering a sealed can of sweetened condensed milk for a couple hours and then letting it cool. There's a great tutorial on Serious Eats (make sure you read it so that you don't make the can explode!). The caramel in these photos was simmered for 2 hours and then thinned out with a little water, but you can go a little longer to get a darker color and deeper flavor.

Slow Roast Persimmon Sundae
Slow Roast Persimmon Sundae
Slow Roast Persimmon Sundae

Some things never leave a person: 
scent of the hair of one you love, 
the texture of persimmons, 
in your palm, the ripe weight.

Slow Roast Persimmon Sundae

slow roast persimmon sundae with raw pistachios and caramel

yield: 4 big servings *
active time: 15 minutes
total time: about 90 minutes
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PDF to print

4 persimmons
Oil, to coat
1/3 cup raw pistachios
1 quart (2 pints) of vanilla, almond, or pistachio ice cream
Caramel sauce **

  • Preheat the oven to 325° F.

  • Cut the persimmons in half from one side to the other, rather than cutting from stem to end. Coat them in a little oil, place them on a sheet pan, and roast them for about 60 to 90 minutes.

  • The persimmons are done once they have shrunk down, but are still a little juicy.

  • Scoop 1 cup of ice cream into each of 4 bowls. Drizzle with caramel (either hot or cold), top with pistachios, and tuck 2 persimmon halves into the sides of each bowl.

* This recipe can be easily multiplied or divided (each serving comes out to 2 persimmon halves, 1 heaping tablespoon pistachios, 1 cup of ice cream, and 2 tablespoons of caramel sauce). These are very big servings, so feel free to scale things back accordingly.
** This recipe for caramel sauce is pictured here, but you can also use store-bought. If you're going to use the pictured sauce cold, thin it out a little with some water or milk, until it's a pourable consistency.

Slow Roast Persimmon Sundae

baklawa frozen yogurt

Baklawa Frozen Yogurt

This spring, I've been making so much baklawa (also known as baklava). And I mean, really, a lot. I'm pretty obsessive about tinkering with and testing my recipes before posting them here, so I've lost track of the number of trays I've made in the last couple months while fine-tuning my recipes for cardamom baklawa and olive oil botanical baklawa.

Luckily, the baking method I use is super easy, so the "problem" with making heaps of baklawa isn't really the amount of time it takes, but the sheer quantity left over. In other words, when it's as simple as slicing, pouring, and baking, it's pretty easy to end up with way too much. After you've shared plates with friends, left some at the neighbors' doors, stuffed plastic containers into your guests' luggage, and eaten some for breakfast every day for a week, you need to figure out what to do with all those delicious leftovers. That's where baklawa frozen yogurt comes in.

cardamom baklava
cardamom baklava
frozen yogurt
frozen yogurt

The key to making baklawa frozen yogurt is to remember to freeze some leftover baklawa next time you make a batch, so that you can easily make it into frozen yogurt later on. You know it's time to freeze the leftover baklawa once it starts to feel like a chore to have to finish the rest of the tray—at that point, stop what you're doing (because eating should never feel like work!), freeze those leftovers, and enjoy them in frozen yogurt form after a few weeks, once baklawa is a novelty again. But, honestly, this frozen yogurt is so good, I've baked baklawa just so that I could have some left over to make this recipe.

baklava frozen yogurt
baklava frozen yogurt
baklava frozen yogurt

If you're using my recipe for cardamom baklawa, this frozen yogurt recipe will work well as is. But if you're using another kind of baklawa or baklava, feel free to substitute the cardamom with something that works better with the particular baklawa you're working with. For instance, you might replace some or all of the cardamom with cinnamon, cloves, or allspice, and you might add a teaspoon or so of rosewater or orange blossom water to the yogurt. It's entirely up to you.

baklava frozen yogurt

baklawa frozen yogurt

Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 25 1/2 to 28 hours (including the time it takes to chill the ice cream core)
Yield: 10 servings

One quart plain whole milk yogurt
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
11 ounces leftover cardamom baklawa *

Special equipment: ice cream machine **

  • At least 24 hours before you plan to make the frozen yogurt, freeze your machine's core.

  • At least 1 hour before making frozen yogurt, coarsely chop the baklawa and divide into 8 ounces (about 2 cups chopped) and 3 ounces (2/3 cups chopped). Freeze the chopped baklawa.

  • At least 1 hour before making frozen yogurt, put a 6 cup freezer-safe container in the freezer.

  • Combine the chilled yogurt with the sugar, salt, and cardamom. This step can be done a day ahead of time and kept refrigerated or it can be done right before transferring to the machine.

  • Once everything is properly chilled, freeze the yogurt mixture according to your machine's guide.

  • Once the frozen yogurt has thickened significantly and finished processing, stir in the 8 ounces (2 cups) of chopped, frozen baklawa.

  • Transfer the frozen yogurt to the frozen storage container and immediately cover and place in the freezer.

  • Store the frozen yogurt in the freezer for 30 minutes for soft serve, or continue to freeze for about 3 to 5 hours for hard ice cream.

  • To serve, top with the 3 ounces (2/3 cups) of chopped, frozen baklawa (some on the whole batch and/or some on individual servings).

* If you are using another kind of baklawa, feel free to substitute another spice for the cardamom to better match your baklawa's flavor (e.g., allspice, cinnamon, rosewater, orange blossom water). Also feel free to use store-bought baklawa.
** If you do not have an ice cream machine, you can use David Lebovitz's method.

baklava frozen yogurt