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Lemon pairs with ripe persimmon for flavorful muffins

Recipe: Lemon-persimmon muffins with lemon glaze

A light lemon glaze is the finishing touch for these delicious muffins.

A light lemon glaze is the finishing touch for these delicious muffins. Debbie Arrington

This muffin is a crossover treat, combining a late fall fruit with the first fruit of winter.

Muffin ingredients
Lemon and persimmon make surprisingly good
partners in baked goods.

My homegrown Fuyu persimmons are finally at that super-ripe, sack-full-of-jelly stage needed for baked goods – just in time for my first ripe lemons of citrus season.

Put together, these two fruits complement each other – especially with the luscious fresh lemon glaze. Studded with chopped dates (or raisins), these moist muffins are sweet enough without the topping, too. They’re perfect for on-the-go breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack. With the glaze, they also can be a dessert.

As with all muffins, stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture just enough to moisten; otherwise, the muffins can be tough.

Lemon-persimmon muffins with lemon glaze

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

2/3 cup persimmon pulp, pureed

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon baking soda

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

½ cup chopped dates or raisins (optional)

1 large egg

½ cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

¼ cup (½ stick) butter, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated

For glaze:

1 tablespoon butter

Juice of ½ lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

Zest from ½ lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Prepare muffin tin; either grease cups or line with paper or silicone liners.

In a bowl or large mixing cup, combine persimmon pulp with lemon juice. Stir in baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Stir in chopped dates or raisins, if desired. Set aside.

Muffins in pan, no glaze
These muffins are also good unglazed,
fresh out of the oven.

In another bowl, lightly beat egg with a fork. Add sugar, then milk. Fold in melted butter. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon zest, then persimmon pulp-lemon juice mixture.

Add persimmon mixture all at once to flour mixture, stirring just enough to moisten flour. Batter will be lumpy.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, about two-thirds full. Bake at 400 degrees about 15 to 20 minutes until muffin tops are golden and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Remove muffins from the oven and let cool on a rack.

Prepare glaze: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add lemon juice and zest. Remove from heat and add sifted powdered sugar. Beat by hand until smooth and desired consistency. Add a little more lemon juice to thin if needed.

Glaze muffins, if desired. Store covered and refrigerated.

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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden needs nutrients. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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