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Warm Persimmon and Apple "Pot Pie"

Native persimmons ripen throughout the prairie in early fall, their orange flesh becoming mellow; sweet. Asian persimmons are more readily available, or you can use persimmon pulp. This light "nouveau prairie" version of pot pie is the perfect end to a Thanksgiving meal in which we're all tempted to overindulge. The Vanilla Bean Syrup and the pastry cream can be made up to three days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. This recipe is from the American Restaurant in Kansas City Mo.

Vanilla Bean Syrup:

1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pastry Cream:
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise

Pot pie:

3 to 4 ripe Hachiya persimmons (or 11/2 cups persimmon pulp)
4 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
4 egg whites

1/4 cup granulated sugar
Powdered Sugar

Vanilla Bean Syrup: Combine vanilla bean halves, water and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boiling. Boil gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Cool slightly. Remove and discard vanilla bean halves (you should have about 1/4 cup syrup). Transfer to glass container or jar. Cover and set aside.

Pastry Cream: Whisk the egg yolks, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and salt together in a small bowl; set aside. In a heavy small saucepan, combine the cream and vanilla bean halves; bring to boiling. Remove from heat and set aside to steep for 5 minutes. Gradually pour the warm cream into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer the egg yolk and cream mixture back to the saucepan. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until the mixture has thickened slightly and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and pass the pastry cream through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. Cover and chill the pastry cream until ready to serve. Let it come to room temperature before using in the recipe.

Slice the persimmons in half and scoop the pulp into a small bowl; mash pulp. Combine pulp and the Vanilla Bean Syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to boiling over medium heat. Reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the diced apples. Remove from heat; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter and sugar the insides of 8 6-ounce oven-proof bowls, custard cups or individual souffle dishes; set aside. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form. With a spatula, gently fold in the pastry cream until well blended. Divide the apple and persimmon mixture evenly among the prepared cups. Spoon the meringue and pastry cream mixture over the fruit in each bowl. Bake for 15 minutes or until the meringue is firm to the touch and the top is golden. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately. Serves 8.

Calories: 237; Protein: 4; Carbohydrate: 31; Fiber: 1; Fat: 11; Cholesterol: 113; Sodium: 78

Thursday, November 16, 2000

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