The colourful tastes of autumn are here.
Orange persimmon, red apples, purple passionfruit, yellow quince, green feijoas, brown kiwifruit and red, green, yellow and brown-skinned pears.
Persimmons are available through to June. They hang on leafless branches well into the frosty weather. Kaki, the crunchy persimmon, can be eaten while crisp as they are quite sweet. The old-fashioned variety needs to be mushy before consuming as, when crisp, they are very astringent. Persimmons are great in savoury and sweet salads, chutneys, jams, smoothies, pies, muffins, cakes and crumbles. They contain goodly amounts of healthy vitamins A and B.
Feijoas — called pineapple guavas in the United States and Australia — have a unique fragrance and flavour and can be savoured raw or cooked. Feijoas are best enjoyed when slightly soft and the flesh is jelly-like. For a snack, simply halve and scoop out the flesh. Not only moreish, these little green fruits are packed with vitamin C and fibre. I love them scooped onto my breakfast cereal or poached in rosé wine and served with lashings of whipped cream
Kiwifruit are one of the healthiest snacks around. They contain: antioxidants that attack the free radicals that damage vital cells; high levels of vitamin C which helps with wound healing; vitamin E — beneficial if you are feeling stressed, physically or mentally; vitamins from the B group necessary for keeping the body running like a well-oiled machine; folic acid that helps prevent heart disease and repair damaged cells; and lutein which has been linked to the prevention of prostate cancer. Whoa!
Apples marry beautifully with some of the more flavoursome autumn fruits and could also help to keep the doctor away. Apples are a good source of potassium that keeps acid balance in check, folic acid, vitamins C and A plus fibre and calcium. Just don't peel them — most of the nutrition is in the skin.
Great served with whipped cream sprinkled with crushed biscuits. Serves 8
250g gingernut or Anzac biscuits
100g butter, melted
250g feijoa flesh, about 10 medium feijoas
Finely grated rind and juice 1 small lime
250g cream cheese at room temperature
¾ cup Greek yoghurt
2 Tbsp mild honey
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 tsp powdered gelatine
2 Tbsp boiling water
- Lightly butter the sides and base of a 20cm springform cake pan. Line the base with baking paper.
- Crush the biscuits very finely. Keep one quarter cup aside to sprinkle on top. Combine the remainder with the butter. Press onto the base of the pan. Chill.
- Blend the feijoa flesh and lime rind and juice in a food processor, until smooth. Add the cream cheese, yoghurt, honey, vanilla essence and blend until smooth. Dissolve the gelatine in the boiling water and add to the filling. Mix well.
- Pour onto the biscuit base. Cover and chill for 3 hours or overnight.
- Serve in wedges topped with the reserved crushed biscuits.
I used gold kiwifruit. The butter for the cake should be at room temperature. Serves about 10
25g butter, melted
2 Tbsp each: brown sugar, finely chopped walnuts
2 firm kiwifruit, peeled and thinly sliced
¾ cup caster sugar
1½ cups self-raising flour
½ cup each: desiccated coconut, orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease a 20cm square cake pan. Line the base with baking paper.
- Pour the melted butter over the base. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and walnuts. Top with the kiwifruit.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add the flour, coconut and orange juice and mix until combined.
- Spoon over the kiwifruit and smooth the top.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Stand on a wire rack for 10 minutes before upturning onto a serving plate.
- Great served warm or at room temperature with yoghurt or whipped cream.
Makes about 1 cup
3 ripe persimmons
Finely grated rind and juice 2 lemons
1 cup sugar
- Quarter the persimmons and peel. Cut the flesh into small dice.
- Combine with the lemon rind and juice in a medium saucepan. Stir in the sugar.
- Simmer on low heat, stirring often, for about 20 minutes or until thick.
- Pour into a sterilised jar and cool. Cover and refrigerate until required.
Short apple flan
400g sweet short pastry
6 large apples, about 1 kg
½ cup each: craisins, finely chopped walnuts
Finely grated rind lemon
3 Tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 small egg yolk, lightly beaten (optional)
- Preheat the oven and an oven tray at 190C.
- Take two-thirds of the pastry and roll into a thin circle on a lightly floured surface. Keep the remaining pastry for the top in the deep freeze.
- Line a 23cm flan dish with the pastry. Trim the edges.
- Peel and grate the apples into a bowl. Drain if required. Mix together with the craisins, walnuts, lemon rind, caster sugar and cinnamon.
- Spoon into the pastry case. Grate the reserved, chilled pastry over the filling. Brush with the egg yolk, if using. Bake for 40-45 minutes.