Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Holiday Cheer & Cupcakes

Our dear and generous friend Robert (aka Hoochman - more about that in a future blog) brought us some beautiful and delicious Asian persimmons he grew, all naturally of course. I decided i wanted to turn them into cupcakes. Being new to cupcake-making i made some mistakes but mostly they turned out to be very tasty and nice looking (some of them anyway). I wanted them to look festive so i made some icing into which i put some ground up red deer tongue lettuce which imparted a green tint to it. After applying the icng to the cakes i drizzled a little pomegranite juice over them to add a little touch of red. Voila, Happy Holidays!

The first mistake i made was filling up the cupcake molds too full. They rose up over the top and spread out over the tin making it hard to get them out. Many of the caps split off from the stumps. Robin told me later that professional bakers have the same problem so they sell the caps as a product. I felt better about my efforts after that. I got 12 whole cupcakes out of 24 potential ones. The lessons learned are to fill the cups only 1/2 full and grease and flour the cups and the top of the pan.

The second mistake was to cook them a little too long. The recipe i adapted was for persimmon loaves. It said to cook them for 1 hour or until a toothpick shoved into the loaf came out clean. I cooked them for 45 minutes and the toothpick came out clean but the bottoms and sided were a little too dark and a bit drier than i would have liked.

The last mistake was due to my impatience. Instead of cooking 2 batches i put 2 pans on the upper rack and 2 pans on the lower rack. Although the ones on the lower rack only cooked fot about 30 minutes the bottoms sides were almost burnt. Since one of the pans on the
bottom was a loaf pan i was able to salvage it by trimming off the sides and bottom.

So applying the lessons learned from my mistakes, here is my recipe for organic Persimmon Cupcakes. Makes 2 dozen cupcakes
1 cup persimmon pulp (about 3 persimmons)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 organic cane sugar
1/2 cup raw agave nectar (very nutritious sweetener)
1 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
4 whole eggs from organically raised pastured hens
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sea salt (good source of essential minerals)
2/3 cup water
3 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour

Pre-heat oven to 350ยบ - with rack in the middle of the oven. Grease and flour the cupcake tins including the tops.

1. in a small bowl chop up peeled persimmon fruit and mix in the baking soda
2. in a large bowl combine sugar, agave nectar, oil, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt. Blend with a whisk until smooth (you could use an electric mixer but it is a waste of energy and you don't get any exercise so just use a whisk).
3. thoroughly mix in 1/3 of the persimmon pulp, water, and flour.
4. pour into the cupcake tins filling them 1/2 full.
5. bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake comes out clean.
6. cool for 10 minutes before attempting to remove from the tins. It is helpful to run a knife around the edge first. Remember, if they all don't come out whole, eat them anyway. They still taste good.

Holiday Icing:
3 leaves organic red deer tongue lettuce (or other dark leaf lettuce) (adds green color and nurtients but you don't really taste it)
1/2 cup organic unsalted butter
3-4 tablespoons organic raw whole milk
3 cups organic confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1/2 organic pomegranite
1.Separate the seeds from the pomegranite and mash in a small bowl to extract about 2 tablespoons of juice
2.put the lettuce into a small food processor and grind into tiny pieces
3. in a small sauce pan melt butter, add milk and heat. It does not need to come to a boil. Remove from heat and blend in sugar and 2 tablespoons ground lettuce. Whisk vigorously (more exercise) until smooth and glossy. If too thick to spread easily add a little bit more milk.
4. Allow to cool for 5-6 minutes then spread over the tops of the cool cupcakes.
5. drizzle a 1/4 teaspoon of pomegranite juice over each cupcake before the icing completely cools to add a splash of red color the the green icing.

Bite into cupcake enjoying the spicy deliciousness as you chew thoroughly. Swallow and repeat until completely consumed.

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