Nate had one request for our Thanksgiving menu: Persimmon Pie.
Our first encounter with this starchy, sweet fruit was on a walk last Fall. Nate has a penchant for stealing fruit from the neighbors' trees, and when he saw the stout orange persimmons, he couldn't help himself. Neither of us had ever seen or tasted one before, and we were left a little puzzled. It tasted like...sweet potato? Or corn? It had that same sweetness and utter lack of acidity, with a texture like that of a dry apple.
Now that persimmon season is back in full swing, Nate was desperate for me to utilize them in my cooking. I had a really hard time finding a recipe for the pie - it seems that most people use the Hachiya persimmon for pies (hachiya persimmon are similarly sweet but must ripen until they are soft as pudding before they are eaten). I wanted to use the Fuyu persimmon because I wouldn't have to wait for them to ripen, and because the texture was so close to apple, I was pretty certain I would be able to make something edible.
And edible it was - more than! The recipe I used had a custard-like filling, which I really liked, but next time I might try a more classic sugar-fruit-cornstarch filling, which Nate prefers. Served with a couple scoops of decadent french vanilla ice cream, this pie was the perfect addition to our holiday table.
I started with 3 pounds of Fuyu Persimmon. I peeled and cored them, then sliced into thick wedges.
I mixed the persimmon slices in a large bowl with the juice of half a meyer lemon and 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice.
I made my own pie crust, enough for a top and bottom crust. I placed the bottom crust in the pie pan, then spooned in the persimmon slices.
I then mixed together 2 eggs, 2 T flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/3 cup melted butter, then poured the mixture over the pie.
I placed the top crust over the pie, crimping the edges, and made some decorative leaves out of the scraps. The pie crust was brushed with 1 beaten egg, and I sprinkled some raw sugar over the top before cutting a few slits in the crust for steam to escape, and placing the pie in the oven.
When the pie came out I let it cool down for 1 hour before serving, to let the filling rest. The crust came out really well, in my (perhaps not-so-) humble opinion!
We served the pie with some french vanilla ice cream, which complemented the spicy sweetness of the persimmon perfectly.
Fuyu Persimmon Pie
Pie Crust Ingredients:adapted from Butter Flaky Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 T sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, chilled and diced
1/2 cup iced water
Preheat oven to 375°
1. Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt.
2. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter, two butter knives, a fork - whatever works for you (I used a potato masher!). Just don't use your hands - they will melt the butter, which will result in a less flaky crust.
3. When the mixture forms crumbs about the size of peas, slowly drizzle in the iced water, just until the dough comes together.
4. Divide the dough into two discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
5. When ready to make the pie, take one disc of dough from the refrigerator. Roll the bottom disc of dough out on a floured surface, and place in pie plate. Put plate in fridge while you prepare the filling, then fill the pie, place in refrigerator while you roll out the top crust, then put the top crust on the pie.
Fuyu Persimmon Pie Filling Ingredients:
adapted from Star Dough Persimmon Pie
3 pounds persimmon, peeled, cored, and sliced into thin wedges
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
pinch of salt
Juice from 1/2 Meyer lemon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1. Mix persimmon slices with pumpkin pie spice, salt, and Meyer lemon juice.
2. Add fruit to pie shell.
3. In a bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter. and 2 eggs until smooth.
4. Pour mixture over persimmon in pie shell. Cover with top crust.
5. Brush top crust with one beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Cut a few slits in the pie to allow steam to escape while baking.
6. Bake the pie at 375° for 45 minutes, until the crust is golden (if the edges brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil).
7. Let cool 1 hour, then serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
I HIGHLY recommend owning a pie crust shield! My mom has one and it is so.much.easier. than trying to create a foil ring to cover the crust. The foil always seems to fall off, and trying to get it to stay on the pie plate without smooshing the crimped pie edges is nearly impossible. A pie crust shield makes perfectly cooked pie crust a cinch.