Monday, December 1, 2008
I love my job.... What's not to love? I can go out to dinner every night and justify it, it's my job! I can drink wine every night and justify it, it my job!
Did I mention that my new favorite place to eat is Ad Hoc in downtown Yountville. It's kind of like eating at Chez Panisse Downstairs (which is where I am eating tonight... I am so excited!) You don't really have choices and the food is so fresh, flavorful and simple. Totally my kind of dinner. Probably the only difference between Chez and Ad is that Ad Hoc dinner is pretty much served family style. You have to like that kind of thing.
I ate there Friday night. One word... Delicious! The first course was a soup of creamy chickpeas and black cabbage. This is the same cabbage grown in Tuscany and used to make ribollita. They call it cavolo nero.
The meatiest short ribs followed. They were served with the creamiest puree of roasted butternut squash and potatoes. On the top were crispy shallot rings without a trace of oil. And then dessert was not-too-sweet upside-down Fuju persimmon cakes topped with homemade vanilla ice cream.
It made me think about the delicious recipe I have for upside-down cake and I thought, why not persimmons.
PERSIMMON UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE
16 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 pound fresh Fuju persimmons, peeled, halved and pitted
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Butter a 9-inch cake pan. Place the pan over medium heat and melt 4 tablespoons of the butter and brown sugar in the bottom of the pan. Overlap the persimmon slices on top of the melted butter and brown sugar.
Preheat the oven to 350°f . For the cake, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Cream the remaining 12 tablespoons butter and granulated white sugar together in a bowl until light. Separate the eggs and add the yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and mix well. Add the milk and the dry ingredients alternately to the batter, folding well after each addition. Beat the egg whites to form soft peaks. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the whites into the cake batter. Spread the batter over the persimmons and bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 60 to 75 minutes.
Cool the cake for 10 to 15 minutes and run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen it. Turn the cake over onto a serving platter and let it sit another 5 minutes. Remove the pan.
To serve, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks are formed. Sift the confectioners’ sugar on top of the cream, add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and fold together. Serve with the cake.
Serves 8 to 10