Spiced Cider Cashew Cream with Persimmon

Spiced Cider Cashew Cream

Makes about 1 cup

2 cups apple cider
4 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 -inch coin of ginger
1 cup raw, unsalted cashew pieces (about 4 1/2 ounces)
squeeze of lemon
pinch of sea salt
Fuyu persimmons to slice for dipping or very ripe Hachiya persimmons to spoon on top

Pour the cider into a small pot. Place the cashews in a small bowl.

Firmly hold one end of the cinnamon stick and carefully and evenly char it in an open flame until it just turns color, then dip it into the cider to put the flame out and cool the charred end. (Be careful - when you burn the cinnamon stick, the heat can move through the hollow center.) Then hold the charred end and burn the other end, then drop it into the pot with the cider.

Add the cardamom pods and ginger to the pot, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the liquid gently boils and cook until the mixture has reduced to ¾ cup, around 35-40 minutes. (Keep a liquid measuring glass nearby to check the volume.) Let the sauce cool for a few minutes, then strain it through a fine-mesh sieve over the cashews. Discard the cinnamon stick and reserve the cardamom and ginger.

Soak the cashews in the reduced cider for 20 minutes, until they soften. Transfer the cashews and spiced cider to a high-speed blender and purée until smooth. Blend in the ginger and inner seeds of the cardamom to taste. Add a pinch of salt and squeeze of lemon to taste.

Serve with persimmon, apple, pomegranate or use as frosting for your favorite baked goods.