Tuesday, December 13, 2011

JOY 2012

Joy of 2012
So many of my friends and fellow bloggers have long-standing annual resolution traditions. Jedi Jasmin’s Jasmin 2012 is her latest iteration and she is a rare individual who crafts these ideas and finds it interesting to live by, in and around them throughout the year.
I can’t seem to do that.  Years seems so long, and yet so blindingly short.  I committed to GingerMan 10 years ago, but for some reason this seems without the bounds of the discussion, for two main reasons.

1) 2001 was CLEARLY only 5 minutes ago.

2) Marrying him didn’t so much seem a commitment or huge undertaking or...I don’t know what... any of the things people usually describe it as in books or essays and columns.  It was more just, ummmmm...uploading to The Cloud.  The Us Cloud.  Like it was always there and always would be and that was just sort of it.  I cannot remember a moment where I seriously had to consider if he was The One.  The Cake was No Lie. (It was three tier and deeleeeshus).
My life has always been about catching up, jumping in the middle, trying to get my bearings in a mess of crazy, and The Mindfulness Project this fall has been a breakthrough.  So no Fairy 2012, unless I find some truly unusual inspiration. And because it’s a Tuesday, and still a couple weeks out from Xmas, it's generally just in the middle of everything so I give you my gift of wisdom now:
ALWAYS lick the spoon

> Eat your dinner.  Feed yourself to love yourself.
> You may Resolve, Schedule and Organise, but Life may Smack You Upside the Head anyway.  Live in it, around it and through it because you will be stronger.  Love yourself for that.  
I do.
Now here’s some cake!
This is the Magic Persimmon Cake.  Because I used to make this with my grandparents at their house, which had a persimmon tree, which I had never seen before in my life, and persimmons are Magically Delicious.  This is The Only Fruitcake I Will Ever Love.  This recipe calls for the flat, jovial-looking Fuyu persimmons.
-3 Cups Persimmons:  Peeled, chopped small
-2 tsp Baking Soda
-1/2 Cup Butter (Zoh. Mah. Lawd.  This calls for Margarine. DON’T DO IT)
-1 2/3 Cup White Sugar (Actually, this could probably be very good with raw crystalized sugar, just not regular brown sugar--I tried once and it changed the flavor)
-2 Eggs
-2 tsp Lemon Juice
-2 tsp Vanilla
-2 Cups Unsifted All-Purpose Flour
-1 tsp Baking Powder
-1 tsp Salt
-1 tsp Ground Cloves
-1 tsp Ground Cinnamon 
-1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
-1/2 tsp Ground Star Anise (Optional-this is a life-long favorite and reminds me of Grandma’s kitchen.  Some people don’t like it’s licorice-y-ness)
--OPTIONAL ADD-INS:  3/4 Cup of Walnuts, Pecans, Raisins, Currants or Chocolate Chips.


1. Peel the fruit like an apple.  The green tops will often twist right off or cut out if you angle a paring knife at an angle right under it and turn THE FRUIT, not the knife, and it will pop off as there is really no stem going deep into the middle.  

2. Cut into quarters, lay the quarters onto one side, then make an angled cut to remove the center fibrous bit.  Again, there is really no big core with pips so there is little, if anything to remove.

3. Continue to chop the fruit into fairly small bits.  The point is you don’t want big chunks in the cake, so use your judgement.  When finished, add the 2 tsp Baking Soda and mix thoroughly.

4. PREP:  In a large separate bowl, blend together the  2 Cups Flour, 1 tsp Baking Powder, 1 tsp each of Salt, Cloves and Cinnamon and 1/2 tsp each of Nutmeg and Star Anise.  Set Aside.

5. At your mixer, you will employ The Creaming Method, i.e. whipping up the fat all fluffy-like, then adding in the sugar and whipping till it’s all light and airy.  So toss the Butter and Sugar into the bowl and beat on medium for a few minutes until creamy and light looking. 

5. Lower the speed all the way down to Add 2 Eggs, 2 tsp Lemon Juice and 2 tsp Vanilla to the bowl-- this prevents Eggy Armageddon--then raise the speed back to medium and keep keep beating till everything is fluffy.

6. Stop the mixer, add in the Persimmon Mixture, then mix on the lowest setting for *just* 2 minutes.

7. Employ the Muffin Method:  Pour the wet stuff into the large bowl of dry stuff and mix gingerly until it is all only just well-incorporated.  Don’t overdo it.


8. Pour into your waiting cake pan and place in oven for 55-60 minutes.  Use a skewer, toothpick or, in a pinch, a slim steak knife or paring knife to test the cake by poking into the middle of the cake- away from the sides.  When it comes out clean, or with just a few crumbs on it, your are DONE!

9. Set the finished cake, in the pan, on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.  Jiggle the pan  and watch the cake loosen from the sides.  If it seems a bit set, use a smooth-blade knife to gently loosen the sides.  Then place a wire rack face-down on top of the pan. 

 Hold the rim of the cake pan to the rack, turn the whole thing over, then jiggle a bit more and the cake should come to rest on the rack.

Place a plate on top of what will be the bottom of the cake, then flip that bad baby! Voilà!

Sauce:  Any kind of sauce or icing will do with this, as the cake is dense enough to take anything.  I do about 2 cups Sour Cream plus 1.5 Fat Tbs Powdered Sugar plus 1 Tbs Orange Juice, whisked together and served to spoon over as desired.
Happy Christmas!!!

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