7. Bake the dumplings while you prepare the syrup.

SYRUP

2 cups light brown sugar, packed

1 cup cool water

1. Blend the sugar and water in a 1-quart saucepan and stir while bringing to a boil.

2. After the dumplings have baked 15 minutes, pour the boiling syrup over them. Return them to the oven. Spoon or brush the syrup over the dumplings after another 10 minutes. Continue to bake the dumplings until the fruit tests tender with a thin skewer, about 5 minutes more.

3. Cool a few minutes, then lift the dumplings onto dessert plates with a spatula. If the dumplings cool enough that the caramel hardens, return them to a 425-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes to soften.

6 servings. Each serving: 772 calories; 370 mg sodium; 72 mg cholesterol; 45 grams fat; 21 grams saturated fat; 91 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams protein; 4.96 grams fiber.

Persimmon Cake With Rum Orange Icing

Active Work Time: 25 minutes

Total Preparation Time: 2 hours

Note: In baking, the persimmons' puckery taste mellows and their velvety flesh melts into tender richness. This is a cake that's fun to make, long-keeping and irresistible on a buffet. If your bundt pan is heavy cast aluminum, bake the cake at 325 degrees.

CAKE

2 cups chopped walnuts

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted European-style butter, melted, divided

2 cups dried currants

3 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda