Wednesday Will: Prospero’s Sweet Persimmon Ending
Prospero’s Sweet Persimmon Ending
“Light as a soufflé, but…substantial enough for the main course.” Virginia Vaughan, 1960, describing a version of The Tempest“
Prospero’s Sweet Ending” was the last recipe Shakespeare created for The Globe’s menu and is today universally thought to be one of his most memorable plates. Moreover it is one of those rare recipes that Shakespeare seems to have invented out of thin air. It is said to have influenced many other chefs around the world through the years, including Shelley, Browning, Renen, Auden, Liyong, Namjoshi…the list goes on. In its delightful simplicity he appears to set a clear picture of what good cuisine can almost magically accomplish, and in its classic technique he seems almost to be re- minding the “macro” crowd not to forget the roots of where their new culinary worlds come from. In this version the traditional figure MacCaliban has been removed and a somewhat ambiguous writer character added.
1 ripe persimmon
A force 6 sea
Several copies of The Complete Recipes of Shakespeare, Abridged
A passenger ship
1 ball of rice or vanilla ice cream
1 cube of gelatin
B. – a seasick writer
As if you were dismayed. Be cheerful, sir.
Your courses soon will end. Though these your chefs
Will sail on in words, your cooking games
Here close. Like butter in a heated pan
They will melt away, completely away,
The red-sauced pastas, the meaty seconds,
The appetizers, this short book itself,
Yeh, all your recipes, will now dissolve;
And, like an Easter dinner digested,
Leave not a rack behind. They are such stuff
As brunch is made of, and this odd meal
Will be rounded with a nap. B., I am vexed.
With what dessert should I close this last act?
Should I a lush soufflé softly bake up,
Or use the southern fruit here in this kitchen
And with it make a subtle, spirited,
Dinner ending, flavored gelatin?
Prospero: I wish your peace. The persimmon, ripened
To its own breaking, cleaned, its hard brown seeds
Removed if the fruit holds them. I pray you,
The ripest, or the pudding’s flavor will
Unfold itself. Use a blender softly
To make a reddened potion, then with a
Gelatin spell, charm the sweet broken puree
Into whatever form you wish it to
Take, and let it set in a cool, soft place
Until that, its new form, remains.
Beside the red dish a cool iced cream
Of whitest, sweetened rice, rounds and completes
The final plating. Now breaks this keyboard.
(hands a plate of the finished pudding to me, the writer, through the page)
Here this book is finally done
And though its writing was less fun
Than presumed, you can relieve
My despair if you retrieve
Of but one of these dishes.
Please fulfill my last of wishes:
Have some mercy on these pages
For which you paid a bit of wages
As you with hunger would not be
Release, indulge, a recipe
From Pasta Noir, the new:
Shakespeare, Abridged. Adieu.
2 ripe persimmons without any seeds (skins can remain)
120 grams or so of whipping cream
1-2 tbl sp. of powdered vanilla sugar
Clean well the persimmons, slice into chunks and blend them with granulated sugar in a blender. Fresh whip the cream and powdered sugar. In transparent serving cups alternate 2 layers each of the whipped cream and blended persimmon, the refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve by themselves or with sweet rice ice cream and a small glass of Passito di Pantelleria. You can make a more solid pudding using gelatin of course but if the fruit is good…it’s better without. Try it in season…you’ll be surprised.
link – a different Italian pudding from the 17th century (with dates and raisins): http://www.godecookery.com/engrec/engrec29.html