The arrival of both pomegranates and persimmons at the store signals the beginning of the holiday season for me. I’m talking cozy sweaters, hot chocolate, reading a good book with a dog at your feet, and a crackling fire to set the mood. Late fall and winter are my favourite times of year. They’re the most wonderful times of the year, if you will. And the selection of sweet treats around this time of year could be what makes it so wonderful. Small indulgences here and there are what makes my world turn.
For this sweet treat, I’m thrilled to partner with Bonne Maman, the iconic French company renowned for its jams and jellies. They’ve asked me to come up with a recipe using their Dulce de Leche (a caramel-like spread), and I jumped at the chance.
My first experience with Bonne Maman was in Paris with my brother, sister, and dad (I wrote a little story about this trip in a past post). Our hotel had the most divine soft-set scrambled eggs at breakfast (which my sister and I still discuss), as well as a selection of freshly baked traditional French pastries, little glass jars of yogurt with golden foil tops, and Bonne Maman jams and jellies to spread on everything and anything. As when the family-owned company first started, their products continue to be made in France without additives or preservatives––délicieuse!
Dulce de Leche is sticky, gooey, and gorgeous. It is rich though, so a little goes a long way––a long way and every way, it would seem. I’ve enjoy it swirled into thick Greek yogurt, as a dip for apples, swirled into steel cut oats, sandwiched between oatmeal cookies, eaten of the spoon, stirred in to hot milk, etc. Still, as tasty as these treats have been, I wanted to do something different for you all, something that looks elaborate but comes together under 20 minutes, something that uses in-season produce, something that will make you want to give yourself a high-five.
I’ve paired the deeply rich, sweet Dulce de Leche with nutty sesame, floral persimmon, and mellow coconut. The sesame “tuiles” are made simply by mixing a touch of the Dulce de Leche with sesame seeds; you then bake it, bend it while still warm, et voilà––2 ingredients, 5 minutes, a fancy-looking sesame crisp. And the sweet coconut pillow is just chilled canned coconut milk, Dulce de Leche, vanilla, and a bit of salt to round it all out. It all rests atop one of my most loved seasonal fruits: persimmon. I picked up a tsurunoko “chocolate” persimmon which has those beautiful cocoa-coloured flecks inside, but you could use any variety. Make sure you eat persimmons when squishy, as underripe, hard persimmons have an unpleasant astringent quality.
This dessert would be a unique finale to any holiday meal, but it’s quick and easy enough to make tonight. If persimmons aren’t to your liking, orange slices or pomegranate arils (or both) are another seasonal option that would go well with the flavours in here.
As they say in France, oh la laaa (not sure if that phrase is real) and bon appétit (that’s a phrase I’m certain they use)!
- 3 tablespoons raw white or black sesame seeds, plus more for serving
- 1½ tbsp high-quality jarred Dulce de Leche
- 1 cup coconut cream (the thickest part from a can of full-fat coconut milk; will not work with lite), chilled
- 3 tablespoons high-quality jarred Dulce de Leche (I used Bonne Maman)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 4 chilled, very ripe persimmons (they should be squishy), peeled and cut into cubes
- Make the Sesame Tuiles: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a large-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (very important, don't skip the parchment). In a small bowl, combine seeds and dulce de leche with a spoon until sticky. Make 4 even dollops on parchment; spread into thin (rough) rounds using an offset spatula. Bake for 5–8 minutes, until golden brown. To mould, quickly place warm tuiles over the bottom of a glass for a cuppy shape, or fold and hold between a few bowls for a taco shape. Allow to set at room temperature for about 5 minutes until crisp.
- Make the Coconut Dulce de Leche: In a medium bowl, whisk coconut cream until slightly whipped. Whisk in dulce de leche, vanilla, and salt until blended.
- To Serve: To ramekins or small dessert bowls, divide persimmon cubes; top with a dollop of coconut dulce de leche, a sesame tuile, and sprinkle of additional sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Disclaimer: I was given product and compensated monetarily for this post. Recipe, photographs, and opinion are my own.