Persimmon, pear, and squash puree

Last week was seven full days of cooking fails. From seized chocolate to mismeasured coconut sugar, I haven't been able to get it right. But hopefully I can pass along some of the lessons I've learned from these botched experiments over the next few weeks to save you some time and frustration in the kitchen.

Friends, let me tell you, unripened persimmons are DISGUSTING. I've cooked with this fruit a hundred times, but apparently have never misjudged one's ripeness so badly before. Pictured above are Hachiya persimmons. They are about the size of a large apple or pear and are the largest type of persimmon that I've seen in the grocery store. I learned the hard way that they aren't really ripe until they're literally falling apart. And if you eat them unripe--even just slightly so--your tongue will feel like it's growing hair.

Instead, Fuyu persimmons (pictured above) are short and squat and smaller than the Hachiya type. They're also much more forgiving and can be eaten when they're either firm or soft, though I like them best when they're about as soft as a ripe avocado. I like to peel them, but the skin is edible.

This puree is warm and comforting, but also full of goodness, which is especially nice this time of year when the days are darker and colder and the food is increasingly indulgent. M eats this combo with a spoon, out of a pouch, mixed with oatmeal, or plopped on whole grain pancakes. The persimmons and squash give the puree some thickness, but all three fruits and veggies have a mellow sweetness to them that pairs well together. Add in some cinnamon and ginger and it almost feels like you're eating not-too-sweet pie filling. And who doesn't like pie filling?

Persimmon, pear, and squash puree

2-3 Fuyu persimmons
2 medium pears
½ medium acorn squash (or one whole squash if it’s very small)
Heaping 1/8 tsp ground ginger
Heaping ¼ tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil

Peel and cube the pears and persimmons and place on parchment- or foil-covered sheet pan. On a separate pan, halve the acorn squash and place cut side down onto a foil- or parchment- covered pan. Roast both pans for 20 minutes. Check the fruit for doneness: The cubes should be softened (but not mushy) and slightly browned. When done, transfer to the bowl of a blender or food processor. Continue cooking the squash for another 20-25 minutes until the skin can be easily pierced with a fork. Using a spoon, remove the flesh of the acorn squash and add to the blender or food processor. Add the spices and the oil. Blend until you reach your desired consistency, adding 1 Tbsp of water at a time, if needed.

Yield: 22 oz or 2.5 cups