By Karen England.
I moved to Vista, CA in May of 2000 to a rental with the sole purpose of getting my husband and myself closer to where we were shopping, almost daily, for agriculturally zoned property to buy. We were hunting for land in Northern San Diego County that we could afford in order to grow the herbs that I needed for my now closed soap making business. Even 19 years ago, when things were less expensive, we couldn’t afford anything at the coast. We had big dreams but not big pocketbooks. We quickly realized it would be easier to look for property before and after work and on weekends if we were not in living in Cardiff, Encinitas or Carlsbad - all the places we had been living, so we found a temporary place to hang our hats in Vista and set about a rigorous property search – and it worked! In November 2000 we lucked into a derelict property that ticked all of our boxes; 2 acres in the county not the city zoned agricultural, albeit steeply sloping, thank goodness herbs don’t care about slopes, a small house with a fireplace to live in and existing fruit trees. It turned out all the fruit trees were dead or dying except one glorious, majestic, prolific Hachiya Persimmon tree, Diospyros kaki 'Hachiya', which is why I’m even telling you this story now.
The Sharing Secrets question this month, as you will read, is “Do you have a favorite family recipe that uses ingredients harvested from your garden?”
Well, yes! Yes I do! It’s a cocktail and it uses my humongous, delicious Hachiya Persimmon bounty.
I call my persimmons the “Zucchini of Fall Fruit”. There is so much of it! I practically have to disguise my face, then, preferably in the dark of night, sneak up on the doorsteps of my unsuspecting neighbors to leave them a box or bag of my persimmon fruit. And then I run! Just like I do in Summer with the zucchini glut.
That is, until I serve someone a Persimmon Cocktail! Then I can give away every single piece of fruit.
(originally called “Winter in California") – Lovely served before Thanksgiving dinner.
Makes 2 large cocktails.
4 oz. Rare Alambic Brandy (or brandy or cognac . . . )
Pulp of one large or two small Hachiya Persimmons - Pureed*
Juice of one large or two small tangerines
1oz. Almond or nut liqueur of choice
½ oz. Allspice Liqueur “Dram”
Shake all ingredients in an ice filled cocktail shaker to chill. Strain into 2 cocktail glasses with crushed ice and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
*To make Persimmon Puree, simply use a very soft (mushy) Hachiya Persimmon. Wash, remove leaves etc., cut in quarters, (check for seeds and remove if you find them,) drop the pulp from the peel into a blender, and buzz until pureed. I’ve heard, if you let Fuyu Persimmons hang around until they are soft, they can also be used in this cocktail but I’ve never tried it with anything other than Hachiya.
If you want some of my persimmons, please tell me! I’ll happily bring you some to the next meeting! Lots! Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org