Spice Roasted Winter Fruit with Caramel Sauce
After all the rich desserts I consumed over the last few months, I wanted something lighter and decided on going with a fruit dessert. Roasting the fruit intensifies all the natural flavors and the light sprinkling of sugar caramelizes under the broiler. I had to gild the lily by offering a caramel sauce as a drizzle to further play on those flavors. The caramel sauce is also great as a topping for ice cream, so don't worry about the leftovers, I'm sure you'll find uses for it.
This recipe uses the Fuyu persimmons (squashed tomato shaped) not the Hachiya variety (acorn shaped). The recipe won't work with the Hachiya persimmons.
1 package banana leaves
4 Fuyu persimmons,leaves removed and cored
3 red pears,cored
1 large pineapple, peeled and cored
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup demerara sugar (unrefined coarse sugar)
2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
3/4 to 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Preheat the broiler with the rack set on the upper third of the oven. Line the bottoms of two rimmed cookie sheets with pieces of banana leaves. Freeze the leftover banana leaves for future use.
Quarter each persimmon and then cut each quarter in half. Next, cut each pear into quarters lengthwise and then each quarter in half. Last, quarter the pineapple lengthwise, then cut each of those quarters in half lengthwise again. The final cut is to cut each of those quarters in half. Scoop all the fruit into a large bowl.
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the cinnamon and the black pepper. Pour this seasoned butter mixture over the cut fruit and toss to coat.
Divide the fruit between the two cookie sheets and sprinkle it with the demerara sugar.
Place one of the cookie sheets into the oven and broil for 12 to 14 minutes or until the fruit has softened and the edges have caramelized. Remove the first cookie sheet and repeat with the second one. You can serve the fruit warm or at room temperature.
To make the caramel sauce, pour 1 cup of water into a 4 quart saucepan. Add the sugar to the center of the pot making sure that all the sugar is covered by the water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, covered. Uncover the pot and brush down the sides with a brush dipped in water. Insert a candy thermometer and continue boiling until the syrup registers 300 degrees, about 15 minutes. Wash down the sides of the pot periodically during this cooking process. Reduce the heat to medium and continue boiling until the sugar reaches 350 degrees and is a dark amber, about 5 minutes more. Meanwhile, warm the cream and salt to a separate small pot.
Remove the caramel syrup from the heat and pour into the cream. Let the bubbling subside and gently whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter and the black pepper. Let cool until warm. You can use it right away or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Reheat it over low heat or in the microwave.
Two helpful hints for making caramel sauce. The first is to keep brushing down the sides of the pot with water as the sugar syrup is cooking to keep sugar crystals from forming. The second is to use a thermometer with an alarm. Once sugar reaches around 325 degrees it moves very quickly and goes from caramel to burnt in what seems like the blink of an eye. The alarm will make sure that you don't get distracted.