Erin Kunkel

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Persimmon Cake

Annemarie Catrambone, Spoonbar and Pizzando, Healdsburg, California - March 2014

For 5 servings

Persimmon cake:

  • 1/2 cup (63g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (40g) whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp. (2g) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. (2g) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. (2g) baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. (.7g) ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. (.2g) ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. (.8g) salt
  • 4 Tbsps. (57g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 lg. egg
  • 1 tsp. (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (77g) persimmon puree
  • 2 Tbsps. (30g) plain yogurt
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.

  2. Whisk flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in small bowl; reserve.

  3. Beat butter and sugar in the bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment until light and fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla; alternating in 2 batches each, add persimmon puree and dry ingredients, staring with puree and mixing well after each addition; mix in yogurt.

  4. Pour batter into 3/4" or 1" diameter half sphere Flexipan molds (about the size of a nickel); smooth surface with offset spatula; bake until cake is brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean (about 10 to 12 minutes); remove from oven; place pan on wire rack; cool; turn out onto wire rack; reserve.

Salted caramel mousse:

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (470ml) whole milk
  • 1/3 cup (78ml) heavy cream
  • 9 lg. (155g) egg yolks
  • 1 1/8 tsps. (7g) sea salt
  • agar-agar
  1. Place a baking sheet in freezer; reserve.

  2. Heat 3/4 cup plus 2 1/2 tsps. (160g) sugar in a saucepan, until melted and dark amber in color; carefully add milk and cream to caramel; cook, stirring, until mixture is smooth.

  3. Whisk egg yolks and remaining 3 Tbsps. plus 1/2 tsp. (40g) sugar in a bowl; temper egg mixture with caramel; gradually whisk egg mixture back into caramel mixture in the saucepan; cook, whisking constantly, until candy thermometer registers 170°F; remove from heat; strain through fine chinois into clean saucepan; whisk in salt.

  4. Measure out 1 percent agar-agar to weight of caramel mixture; whisk into caramel mixture; cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes; remove from heat; strain through fine chinois into large bowl; chill until set.

  5. Place mousse in a blender; blend, adding more cream as needed, until smooth and the consistency of pudding.

  6. Place salted caramel mixture in whipping siphon; charge with 2 N2O cartridges; dispense into clean bowl; carefully place mousse in piping bag fitted with small round tip (don’t flatten too much); pipe dots onto frozen baking sheet; freeze until set; cover with plastic wrap; reserve in freezer.

Ginger foam:

  • 2/3 cup (156ml) ginger simple syrup
  • 2 1/3 tsps. (12ml) fat-free milk
  • .25g xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp. (1.2g) Versawhip
  1. Blend simple syrup, milk, and xanthan gum on high speed in a blender 3 minutes; add Versawhip; blend 3 minutes.

  2. Place in the bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment; beat until thick and meringue-like; cover with plastic wrap; reserve.


  • 1/2 cup (117ml) honey
  • 2 tsps. (10ml) orange blossom water
  • 25 dime-sized balls Asian pear, scooped out with melon baller, plus thin slices for serving
  • lemon juice
  1. Heat convection or regular oven to 350°F.

  2. Bring honey and orange blossom water just to a boil in small saucepan; remove from heat; reserve.

  3. Place pears in vacuum-sealable plastic food bag; add a little syrup and juice; vacuum seal 25 seconds; reserve.

  4. To serve, place 10 cake pieces on baking sheet lined with parchment paper; drizzle with 1 tsp. syrup each; bake 4 minutes; remove from oven; place in shallow serving bowl; place 7 dots ginger foam around cake; remove Asian pear balls from bag; garnish cake with 5 balls; punch 3 thin half rounds from Asian pear slices with a 1 1/4" diameter cookie cutter; place against cake; garnish with 5 salted caramel mousse balls; repeat to compose 4 more plates.

What to drink: Beringer Botrytised Nightingale Napa Valley 2006