Big and rich, with intense fruit flavors like blackberry, black cherry, candied orange and chocolate, with a touch of spice and herbs. The combination of fruit and spice complements the flavors in Greg's Persimmon Pudding Cake nicely. I like how the cake's sweetness offsets the port's own sweetness, which ensures liveliness and balance in the pairing. Made from classic Portuguese grape varieties (and some Zinfandel), this Californian dessert wine finishes with refined tannins and elegant persistence, and is reminiscent of many fine Portuguese vintage ports.
Port is another example of one of those "happy accidents" which were so prevalent throughout wine's history (Champagne being my favorite!). In an effort to stabilize the red wine bought back in barrels on the the long journey from Portugal, the British added distilled alcohol to the wine. In at least one instance, the addition of spirits to a not fully-fermented wine halted the fermentation process, resulting in high levels of sugar and an elevated alcohol level. Since then, the process has been refined, resulting in the wonderfully sweet yet complex pleasure we know today as port.
Where I live the persimmon trees have already dropped their leaves. I love how stark they look. Gray tangles silhouetted against a gray sky with just a few crimson orbs dangling from their branches. I've lived in Los Angeles so long that I've come to consider the persimmon tree the real true Christmas Tree. The first harbinger of the season. The first hint that the holidays are coming. You can almost smell the sweet spice of them. I try to stop and savor this moment every year, because we all know that the stress of the holidays will soon follow. The weight of them will soon be felt.
But right now– they seem so enchanting, so full of possibility and promise.
Take fruit cake. Every year about this time I think to myself, "I should make fruitcake". The idea of fruitcake seems so romantic, ripe with holiday spirit and good intentions. So full of possibility– so promising. But then the calender clicks off a few more days. The big day looms more near. My to-do list grows. Suddenly I remember all the hassle involved tracking down all those gummy neon colored fruits. Besides, nobody really likes fruitcake. They (like me) have romanticized that little confection all out of proportion.
So before I get to that point. Before the possibility and the promise fizzle out like the last candle on the 8th night. I plan to make fruitcake.
But this fruitcake holds all of the promise and none of the burden. Because you will love this fruitcake. I made it with persimmon. Hachiya persimmon. Its pudding-like pulp will add just the right note of sweetness to this very dense, very moist "fruit" cake. I hope you'll consider this Persimmon Pudding Cake. My gift to you. Because I realize many people aren’t sure what to do with persimmons. Some people even claim to dislike them. But I don't really believe them. Though its true persimmons can be confusing.
You see there are 2 types. Fuyu persimmons are squat like a bright orange tomato and are eaten while crunchy. They are great simply sliced and eaten out of hand. But they also shine in winter salads. I really defy anyone to say they don't like fuyu persimmons. It's like saying, "I don't like apples".
It's the other type of persimmon, Hachiya, that has convinced folks that they don't, can't or won't eat persimmons. Hachiya are more acorn shaped, more red than orange– and are abruptly tannic when under-ripe. Grimace your face and run from the room tannic. Hachiya persimmons must be squishy soft before eaten. At that point their flesh is like jelly. You can cut one in half and spoon its soft sweetness into your mouth. You can freeze them and do the same thing– enjoying them like the sweetest most exotic sorbet imaginable.
But there are other ways to enjoy them also. Their sweet pulp, when pureed, is as smooth as pudding. Making it a terrific ingredient for baking. It's the star of this dense and moist– perfect for the holidays– cake. It's a luxurious cake. Packed full of raisins and walnuts. At first bite it might seem not quite sweet enough. But keep eating. Just like the promise of Christmas, this cake's unexpected pleasures are not as obvious as they seem, and they don't last forever. GREG
Persimmon Pudding Cake serves 12 CLICK here for a printable recipe
1/4 c brandy
1 c raisins or dried currants
6 very ripe hachiya persimmons
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 c whole milk
1 t vanilla extract
6 T melted butter, slightly cooled
2 T honey
1/2 c sugar
1 1/4 cg all-purpose flour
1/2 t kosher salt
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 1/2 c coursely chopped toasted walnuts
2 c whipped cream (optional)
Place the oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Place a round of parchment on the bottom.
Place the raisins in a small bowl and pour the brandy over. Let soften about 20 minutes.
Cut the persimmons in half, then scoop the pulp from the skins and place the pulp in a large bowl. Discard skins. Mash the pulp with a fork until until smooth. Add the lightly beaten eggs, milk, vanilla, honey, melted butter and sugar. Stir to combine.
In a separate large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in 3 additions. Stirring to combine between each addition. Fold in the raisins and any remaining brandy along with the walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. It should come to about 1-inch from the top. Don't overfill. Place the filled pan a a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to the heated oven.
Bake until the cake has risen, is firm to the touch and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Once cool run a small knife along the edge to loosen the cake from the pan, then remove ring. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream, if using.
Source: Adapted from CIA Greystone
Spring welcomed a wonderful new couple to Napa's finest, as Savannah and Brice joined V. Sattui Winery for a beautiful March Wedding. The couple enjoyed the crisp clean air and the fresh green vineyards in a photo shoot with Xsight photography before joining their friends and family in a courtyard ceremony. With many award winning V. Sattui wines to be shared, the fun-loving couple cut their cake and enjoyed the atmosphere of the Barrel Room for the reception. Congratulations to Savannah and Brice, and we look forward to seeing you here again at V. Sattui Winery!
The Napa Valley Vintners Association reports that Chardonnay is pretty much off the vine, Merlot is coming in and last week's heat spike has gotten Cabernet Sauvignon to a very happy place on the valley floor. The long, smooth even growing season continues, with cooler days and cold nights allowing for flavors to develop in a winemaker's idea of a perfect scenario. Catch Harvest Napa Valley 2012 while you still can and take a peek at what happens once grapes come on to the "crush" pad.
Watch this video produced by the Napa Valley Vintners.
According to the Napa Valley Vintners Association the 10-day weather forecast for the region predicts continuing warm days with cool and foggy nights which bodes well for optimal ripening with balanced sugars and acids. The vintage is shaping up as a smooth, even harvest that--so far--finds winemakers throughout the appellation all-smiles with the 2012 crop. Across all varieties and from Carneros to Calistoga, the spring fruit set followed by a nearly perfect growing season finds beautiful, healthy vines delivering some of the most flavorful grape clusters vintners have seen in years.
Watch this video produced by the Napa Valley Vintners.
V. Sattui’s 28th annual Harvest Ball was a sucess as we celebrated this year’s harvest with a focus on the cuisine of Italy’s Alto Adige region, and showcased some of our very best wines, both new and aged. The evening began with a champagne reception, followed by a six-course Italian feast, and music and dancing lasting into the night.
April and Dave's July 2020 wedding was a fantastic blend of rustic charm, playful spirit and romance that brought smiles to anyone witnessing the interactions between the beautiful couple. V. Sattui was excited to offer the venue as the stage for this special day while photographer Michele Beckwith captured the memories that will last a life time. April and Dave, congratulations on your recent anniversary. We loved having you here and look forward to seeing you again in the future!
Courtney and EG chose an extraordinary June evening to exchange vows in front of their captive audience of close friends and family. The couple shared a beautiful first look, captured by photographer Jen Philips before slipping away to prepare for the ceremony. A rose petalled aisle, a glass of V. Sattui's Moscato and a romantic stroll through the vineyards were the perfect details to make their special evening complete. V. Sattui loved hosting their wedding and we look forward to seeing this happy couple again!
2012 is shaping up to be a great vintage year in the Napa Valley.
The Napa Valley experienced a relatively dry winter, but spring rains added plenty of moisture to the ground, giving the vines an early start on spring growth. This summer saw mostly moderate temperatures, with only a couple of short heat spikes; but the recent string of warm to hot weather pushed grape maturity along and vintners expect this year’s harvest to be one of the biggest, due to increased berry set and cluster size.
“We’ll be starting our harvest of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for sparkling wine very soon to produce our lovely Brut: the Prestige Cuvee,” explains Director of Winemaking Brooks Painter. “The Pinot Noir is picked earlier, before it is fully-colored, and then gently pressed to avoid red pigments and tannins in the juice,” he added. “The Chardonnay is picked slightly riper,” he continued, “then they are fermented separately and carefully blended before the second 'methode champenoise' fermentation in the bottle.”
“Sauvignon Blanc from our Carsi Estate vineyard was tested yesterday, and the 'brix' (sugar-content) lead us to expect that harvest will begin of this early-ripening varietal by the third week of August,” remarked V. Sattui's Associate Winemaker Laura Orozco. The first reds—Pinot Noir, Merlot and some Zinfandels—will arrive at the crush pad around mid-September. Both Painter and Orozco predict that the winery will begin crushing Cabernet Sauvignon in late September through mid-October. The red grapes are looking excellent and quality should be very high this year.
We look forward to having you here soon!
Leah and Ben eloped on a beautiful August afternoon on V. Sattui Winery's Vittorio Terrace. The private ceremony provided a romantic atmosphere for the couple to share such a special moment together. Leah and Ben celebrated their day with a bottle of V. Sattui Prestige Cuvee and a walk through the lush vineyards. Photographer Richard Wood captured the couple's intimate "I Do's". Congratulations to this beautiful couple and we look forward to seeing you again soon!
Emily & Ryan's wedding was beautifully captured by Annie Gerber's photography. The Bride and Groom celebrated their union in the peak of spring in Napa Valley. V. Sattui Winery was honored to host this destination wedding for such a special couple. We congratulate you and wish you the best.