Autumn Mix

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Persimmons and pomegranates are rather persnickety specimens of fall fruit–the former needing nothing but time and patience for its flesh to go from hard and astringent to meltingly sweet and smooth, and the latter requiring a bit of excavation to find the juicy seeds inside.

There are a few different varieties of persimmon available. Some varieties, like the fuyu, are somewhat firm-fleshed and can be eaten like an apple. Other varieties, like the hachiya (gesundheit!), must be completely ripe and very soft before eating. I’d say the hachiya is my favorite type of persimmon.

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If you happen to buy a hard unripe hachiya, just shove it in a brown paper bag with a banana, or a tomato, or both, and the persimmon should soften up in a few days. Once it’s ripe and very mushy, you can cut a hachiya in half and then eat it out of the skin with a spoon. The flesh of a ripened hachiya is earthy-sweet, and almost jelly-like.

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Gloopy, but tasty.

Pomegranates, on the other hand, require a little bit more work. You have to first lop off its crown, score its leathery skin with a sharp knife, and then pull it apart to find its sweet-tart ruby-red seeds.

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Eureka!

Once the innards of the pomegranate are exposed, I usually place everything in a giant bowl o’ water and gently pull the seeds away from the white pith. The seeds sink to the bottom and the pith and skin float to the top.

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Clear water.

All of the juice is in the red seeds, so if you’re gentle with the
seeds, you won’t waste any juice. But if you’re a wee rough, then the
water in your bowl will be bloodied with pomegranate plasma, you scoundrel! After gently separating seeds from pith, you can just skim the skin and pith away, then drain the seeds.

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There are a number of things you can do with pomegranate seeds. You can sprinkle ’em on salads, on ice cream, or on your morning bowl o’ Wheaties.

Or, together with the flesh of a hachiya persimmon and a few other goodies, you can use the pomegranate seeds in an autumn version of halo-halo.

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Why, hello hello!

Halo-Halo is very much a summertime Filipino treat with layers of shaved ice, sweet beans, macapuno strings, ube, jack fruit, and any other number of sweet bits. And although pomegranates and persimmons are largely autumnal fruits, that doesn’t mean they can’t be used in halo-halo for a tasty dessert.

In a normal Halo-Halo, after the sweets are layered with shaved ice in a tall glass, some evaporated milk is poured in and allowed to seap into the ice. Then the whole shebang is topped with ice cream.

For my fall weather halo-halo, I used some of the Ube jam (it’s still good!) that was given to me by Mila, some macapuno (coconut) strings, and some pomegranate and persimmon. Since I didn’t have any canned evaporated milk, I just poured in some milk I had in my refrigerator. Lastly, I topped off my halo-halo with some ice cream–homemade Macapuno Ice Cream would be nice, but I opted for homemade Ube Ice Cream.

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I do want to stress the importance of shaved ice in a halo-halo. I don’t have an ice shaver, so I crushed some ice in my blender–this was not a suitable substitute! I had to crunch through larger pieces of ice as I ate my halo-halo, and crunching ice/breaking teeth is no fun. So if you do make some halo-halo, make sure you have a very powerful blender, or invest in some sort of ice shaving contraption–for the life of me I couldn’t find the manual hand-cranked ice shavers I remember my mother using when I was a kid.

Also, I don’t think a recipe is necessary here. Just layer sweet things with shaved ice in a tall glass, pour in some milk, then top with your favorite ice cream. For a more traditional halo-halo, Asian markets carry jars of sweet preserved beans, ube jam, macapuno, jack fruit, gelatin, etc. There are also jars labeled as “halo-halo mix” that have a combination of these items all in one jar.

And lastly, halo-halo is literally translated to mix-mix (so I’m told). So after I eat the ice cream, I mix-mix the rest of the contents with a spoon and make haste with the goodness!

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The goodness!

I must say that the pomegranate seeds and the persimmon lend a very different twist, but also very welcome fall flavors, to an otherwise sweet and summery treat.

  • Julie November 17, 2008, 8:40 pm

    Mmmm . . . looks like a good dream. This speaks to my heart. It says, “Get off your butt and make some, already!” I’ve never made halo-halo myself, precisely because I don’t have the hand-cranked ice shaver my parents would make me churn whenever we made halo-halo. It really is integral to the success of the dish. I wonder if you could just make a “water-only granita” to simulate shaved ice, or at least slushy ice. Kudos for putting ube ice cream, ube, and jackfruit in there. Those things, along with coconut palm fruit, made it for me.

    Reply
  • Katrina November 17, 2008, 9:47 pm

    What a pretty halo-halo! I find traditional halo-halo too “busy” for my taste, and prefer to just put a few choice ingredients in. Ube, of course, being one of them. Your version looks so elegant! :-)

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  • Manggy November 17, 2008, 10:37 pm

    Ah, I am totally un-Filipino in my non-Halo-Halo eating ways: and when I do, it’s leche flan, bananas, and gelatin. Freakily boring, huh? I’ve had neither pomegranates nor persimmons before, so I’m definitely intrigued :)
    As for shaving ice, I think there are some serrated knives that work well– just run it down the edge of a block, see if it works. I don’t have a problem with ice-eating, however :)

    Reply
  • joey November 18, 2008, 6:37 am

    What a fantastic version of Halo halo! Regular halo-halo has too much “stuff” for me (I prefer mais con hielo) but this looks delicious!

    Reply
  • oggi November 18, 2008, 7:04 am

    Love the hello, hello play, made me smile.:)
    I prefer the fuyu because of its firm texture. I specially love it eaten with kabocha squash cake, the perfect combination. Very creative adding the gloopy hachiya in halo-halo.
    I have a small electric ice shaver I got from Target 6 years ago for about $20. It sits on the counter all summer long ready for halo-halo, sweet avocado, and mais-con-hielo anytime of the day or night.:)

    Reply
  • brilynn November 18, 2008, 7:09 am

    I just bought 2 pomegranates yesterday and I’m thinking of turning them into ice cream…

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  • Mikey November 18, 2008, 8:12 am

    You know whats else those fruits are good for…Iced Tea. That’s right. Black tea, steeped with persimmon and ginger.

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  • Fearless Kitchen November 18, 2008, 8:53 am

    Pomegranates are one of my favorite foods. In fact, my husband told me a couple of days ago that I use “too much” pomegranate :(
    The halo-halo looks good. I’ve never seen it before, but I bet it’s a very satisfying, tasty treat. Maybe a reward?

    Reply
  • rita November 18, 2008, 11:08 am

    if only the pomegranate isn’t too expensive here, i’ll get one. but that halo-halo looks soooo good! guess, i’ll have to wait until summer gets here to make one. whatever summer we have here in germany. oi…

    Reply
  • Dee November 18, 2008, 11:12 am

    Hello Marvin, I’m a big fan of your blog and recipes! Making halo-halo with seasonal ingredients is such a cool idea.
    I, too, have yet to buy a proper ice shaver. I once tried to pick up a Snoopy Snow Cone Machine (I’ve wanted one since I was a kid) while at Toys R Us, but my husband looked at me funny, so I pouted and put it back. It would probably be wise to get something more sturdy, anyway.

    Reply
  • greasemonkey November 18, 2008, 5:07 pm

    =) vewy intewesting! i’ve never had pomegranates nor persimmons… are persimmons more like peaches or mangoes? hmm…
    oh, and i found that monk-made fruit cake online! yeba!
    http://www.monasteryfruitcake.org
    http://www.epinions.com/content_84486164100
    http://www.cakes-you-can-bake.com/monks-fruitcake-recipe.html

    Reply
  • Erin November 18, 2008, 6:35 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better pomegranate seeding job. I was taught to open it up and whack the skin until the seeds fall out. An effective yet messy method. Thanks for the tip, I’ll be using it this season. Great post!

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  • Mila November 19, 2008, 5:46 am

    I love firm pomegranates (I think fuyu’s when just ripe, not before they get gloppy), chilled and skinned. My older sister lives up in Roseville and has hooked me into those dried pomegranates sold by the Japanese-American farmers in that area. They dry the fruits the old fashioned (and labor intensive) way.
    Halo-halo with fall flavors, why not indeed? There’s a kiosk here called Sandosenang halo-halo (one dozen ingredients in the halo halo), not sure if that’s the most stuff you can put in it. But the Pampanga version of bananas, leche flan, macapuno, milk and ice (a monochromatic option) is gaining ground on the traditional version. I like both!

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  • bernadette November 21, 2008, 3:02 am

    hahaha! Love your treatment of the pomegranate, Marvin! Thanks for the instructions! I didn’t know how to eat them at first…just popped them in my mouth and swallowed everything! Someone gave me seeds to plant and hey! I will soon have a pomegranate hedge! 😀
    I might just be able to add a fruit in my halo-halo some summer…maybe in two years time! None of those fruits here :-(—moreso persimmons!

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  • Jen November 21, 2008, 12:30 pm

    It’s freezing cold in East Coast right now but your recipe is making me hungry for some Halo-Halo!
    Take care,
    Jen

    Reply
  • Cynthia November 21, 2008, 3:55 pm

    I’ve never had persimmons.

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  • Victoria November 22, 2008, 9:16 am

    If you dont have an ice shaver you can use a SNOW CONE MAKER. I bought one to make snow cones and my 78 yr old father saw it and was thrilled. Now when I make snowcones for the family he makes his halo halo. BTW he uses half and half because we dont usually have evaporated milk at home.

    Reply
  • Lori Lynn @ Taste With The Eyes November 23, 2008, 2:11 pm

    Pomegranate plasma, you are too funny! I look forward to making some dishes with pomegranates and I had yogurt with persimmon jam for breakfast today. Great Fall flavors.

    Reply
  • [eatingclub] vancouver || js November 24, 2008, 8:53 pm

    Creative halo-halo. I must admit I’m not that big of a halo-halo fan (I just like the ice cream and the evaporated milk) but I might get behind this pomegranate seed halo-halo. Yummy!

    Reply
  • mikky November 29, 2008, 3:57 am

    what a treat… the pomegranate made it more special… too bad we don’t have fresh pomegranate here in manila… :)

    Reply
  • Burnt Lumpia November 29, 2008, 3:56 pm

    Hi Julie, the shaved ice really is integral. And I did try making some sort of slush by blending ice and water, but that didn’t work either.
    Thanks very much, Katrina. I too don’t like halo-halo with too many ingredients.
    The serrated knife sounds like too much work for me manggy, and I’d have to freeze my own block of ice to boot. And I don’t think leche flan, bananas, and gelatin are boring at all.
    Hello joey. Maiz con hielo is one of my faves too! Very simple, very tasty.
    Hi oggi! I always see electric ice shavers here and there, but I end up talking myself out of buying it. Since I can never find the manual kind, I’ll probably get an electric sooner or later.
    I’d love to see a pomegranate ice cream, Brilynn. I hope you make it.
    Black tea and persimmon sound great, Mikey.
    Is there such a thing as too much pomegranate Fearless Kitchen? 😉
    Hi rita! I’m thankful that I can get pomegranates at a decent price here.
    Hello Dee! Thanks very much for visiting my blog. A snoopy ice shaver, eh? I’ll have to look into that.
    Greasemonkey, persimmons are not like peaches or mangoes, they are even softer and have a different sweetness to them. And thanks for the fruitcake links.
    Thanks Erin. Your method does sound faster though:)
    Hi Mila. I think I’d stay away from a dozen ingredients in a halo-halo, but I’ve always thought leche flan was good on top too.
    Thanks Bernadette. Yeah, I didn’t really know what to do with pomegranates at first either, I thought you were supposed to just suck the juice out of the seeds then spit them out, but the seeds are completely edible.
    Hi Jen. Thanks very much for visiting my blog. Halo-halo is good during cold months too, just be sure you’re near a fireplace to keep warm;)
    Hello Cynthia, persimmons are very good if you could get your hands on them in the Caribbean.
    Thanks for stopping by, Victoria. A snow cone maker is a great idea! I’ll have to look into those as well.
    Hi Lori Lynn, persimmon jam sounds yummy.
    Thanks, js! I’d say the ice cream is my favorite part too.
    Hi mikky. You are missing out on pomegranates, but I’m sure you can make a great halo-halo without it.

    Reply
  • manju December 6, 2008, 2:53 pm

    Bravo! Never been a halo-halo aficiando –it’s the langka that disagrees with me, but persimmons are a great idea. And tart pomegranate at the end, yum!

    Reply
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  • rmb January 16, 2011, 1:27 pm

    the best halo halo is a mixture of fresh young coconut,sweet saba,pinipig,langka,leche plan,ube,i disagree with ice cream

    Reply

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