American Persimmon Frozen Yogurt

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));Our native persimmons are a treat most people have never experienced. Persimmons are available only for a short period in late autumn, and are highly perishable. As a result, you have to live near a persimmon tree in order to enjoy them.

Or know someone who does. I am lucky enough to know someone with connections to some of the finest, sweetest persimmons I have tasted. My friend's gift of a quart of them inspired me to devise this simple way to preserve their unique flavor for up to three months in the freezer.


Persimmon Frozen Yogurt                This recipe makes 1 ½ cups of frozen yogurt. The recipe can be easily multiplied if you have many persimmons. For best results, when making a larger quantity, use an ice cream freezer to freeze the yogurt, rather than still-freezing as directed in the recipe. The key to still-frozen desserts is getting them to freeze as quickly as possible. Make sure all ingredients are thoroughly chilled before placing in the freezer. Choose a plastic storage container with a tight fitting lid. A shallow, rectangular container works best. If possible, choose one that will hold the yogurt mixture to a depth of ½ inch, with another ½ inch of headspace to allow for expansion. Freeze the yogurt uncovered, but cover the container after 12 hours to avoid drying out the frozen yogurt. 1 pound ripe persimmons, washed and stemmed
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns¼ cup water3 tablespoons sugar¼ cup Greek-style yogurt, chilled
                 Process the persimmons in a food processor, then transfer to a sieve and press out the pulp with the back of a spoon. You should have ½ to ¾ cup of puree. Discard the skins and seeds. Place the puree in the refrigerator to chill while you continue with the recipe.                Toast the peppercorns in a heavy skillet over high heat until they are fragrant and begin to smoke. Carefully transfer to a mortar and crack the peppercorns with the pestle. Place the peppercorns, water and sugar in a small saucepan. Set the pan over high heat, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced to ¼ cup, about 4 minutes.


                Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature. Strain the cooled syrup through a fine sieve into a bowl and chill it.                When the syrup is cold, combine it with the persimmon puree and the yogurt. Transfer the mixture to a suitable container and freeze overnight in the freezer.

The frozen yogurt is delicious with poached or baked pears, which are also in season now.