Magic hour was cut short by the tilting of the seasons, turning rush hour traffic into a brilliant red trail of brake lights snaking off into the darkness. I drove to the far end of South Boulevard, into the land of panaderias, thrift stores and check cashing joints, much further than I had planned. I reached into my pocket and felt the crumpled mass of bills in my pocket, making sure I could easily grab them when I reached my destination. I turned into an unfamiliar neighborhood and drove down the poorly lit streets. When I finally arrived, nearly 30 minutes late, I called my contact to let her know I was waiting and stood at the top of a steep, sloped driveway.
A dark figure emerged at the bottom of the hill cradling a batch of her finest goods. I met her halfway, reached into my pocket and handed her the money.
"Those are going to be some expensive scones," she said, handing over five deep orange orbs, freshly plucked from the trees in her orchard not long before my arrival. I thanked her and drove away, pleased with my resourcefulness and amused that I had driven thirty minutes out of my way, in the dark, to pick up some persimmons. My, how times have changed.
In my more sordid past, drives like this were reserved for goods of the synthetic variety packaged neatly into tiny blue baggies. The bearer of those goods was most definitely not a kind-faced woman like the one who blessed me with persimmons fresh off her homestead.
I don't even know what possessed me to seek out the persimmons, really. The idea entered my consciousness a few days before with just enough force to make me oblige the thought, much like the overwhelming urges of years past that forced me to break agreements with myself and make decisions that left me depleted, loathing my own absence of will power and self control. Those thoughts, too, always won out with just enough force to muddle my best intentions.
I smiled all the way home that night because not only had I scored fresh persimmons, I was going to make good on my mental urge which, turns out, was in exact accordance with my original intentions. Muddled no more.
Persimmon Scones with Spiced Butter
My only qualm with scones is that they end up too dry and crumbly. This recipe solves that problem by leaving egg and butter out of the equation and uses heaps of cream for one decadent scone. I had originally set out to make spiced persimmon scones but, during the process, discovered my spice mixture hanging out by its lonesome after the dough had come together. So, improvisation yielded spiced butter which turned out to be the way to go. The spices may have overpowered the lovely persimmon flavor. I think next time I would add some dark chocolate chunks or go with some cranberries to counterbalance the sweetness of the persimmons. Scones are so easy to make, you could test a few recipes in no time.
This recipe is slightly adapted from the Joy of Cooking.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
5 persimmons, peeled and diced
Set the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl, combine the persimmons and the cream. Add the cream mixture to the dry ingredients and gently mix with a spatula until the ingredients just begin to come together. Carefully knead into a ball, collecting all the pieces and scraps together. Turn onto an ungreased baking sheet and pat into a round disk about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into eight wedges. Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream (I used my fingers) and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges and tops turn golden brown. The cream creates a moist dough so double-check the center to make sure that it cooks all the way. Allow scones to cool on a rack. Serve warm with spiced butter.
For spiced butter:
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon powdered sugar
8 tablespoons of butter, softened
Combine all ingredients and mix well.