Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fruits of my labor, labor, and more labor

Despite losing half of the persimmon tree last year and another half of what remained this fall, I was able to harvest around 100 persimmons today. There are probably still 30 left on the tree, I'm waiting to see if they'll ripen some more. I'm not sure the tree will survive this winter though. The branch that broke off this fall left a pretty significant wound. Last year, the wound was pretty clean, this year, not so much. And we'll see if these persimmons turn out to be any good.

the 2nd and 3rd batches of quince paste! This was basically the quince paste weekend. I peeled, cored, cooked, pureed and baked yesterday. And then baked some more today. The little toaster oven was going all night last night and all day today. It really just doesn't set like the recipe says it will, although after cooling in the fridge, it's set enough for me. I also tried something else today—the top half of the paste seems to set more during baking, but the bottom half really doesn't want to. So today, I flipped the paste over and returned it to the oven, and the paste did not seem to suffer from it. So I think I'll revise (further...not like I didn't revise it already from the original) the recipe as:

Peel and core lots of quince; cover in water, add lemon zest from 1 lemon) and boil for ~20 minutes until quince is fork tender. Drain. Puree. Return to pot. For every cup of puree, add 1/2 cup of sugar (this is half of what the original recipe calls for). Add the juice from the lemon; add vanilla extract (1 Tsp for every 4 cups of puree). Cook and stir frequently for 2 hours. Line baking dish w/ parchment paper, pour quince mixture into dish. Back at barely warm oven (I had mine set to 150F) for 1.5 hours. Let cool. Flip the paste over. I did this by pulling the paste out by the parchment paper onto a plate, putting the baking dish over the paste and flipping the whole thing over. Return this back to the oven for another 1.5 hours. Let cool. Refrigerate. Cut into pieces, wrap and store in fridge. The 2nd round of baking (after flipping) doesn't seem to require another sheet of parchment. The finished paste lifted out of the pan very cleanly and easily. [Added Nov 24—I think a little ginger would be really terrific!]

I think I'll make this a new Thanksgiving tradition. Not that we had any old ones.

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