Fall is finally here! And with it, the fall bounty of my father-in-law’s garden. The other day he sent us home with a huge bag of persimmons plucked from his beautiful persimmon tree. I was surprised to learn that he grew up eating them in his hometown Aboud, Palestine because I’m more familiar with them baked into midwestern desserts like cookies, pudding, and pies! The definition of persimmon (taken from the Algonquian language) means “a dry fruit” – an apt description since this fruit’s texture is something like an under-ripe tomato while its flavor is unique and very subtle.
After tasting a fairly ripe one for the first time, I could see why my people (that is, midwesterners) cook it into a compote or bake it into desserts – its stiff texture and subtle sweetness just beg for some culinary magic. Being new to having armfuls of persimmons on hand, I invested some time looking for a pie recipe that would suit my tastes. Not knowing how persimmon would taste when cooked presented a challenge. Most of the recipes paired it with pumpkin – possibly because it is also a fall fruit and because persimmons taste pretty good when combined with fall spices commonly found in pumpkin pie. In the end, I went with this one from Baking the Goods.
Because I had so many persimmons and because my go-to pie recipe makes two disks, I doubled the recipe to make two pies. I probably was a little heavy-handed with the sugar in doubling – the brown sugar masked too much of the fruit flavor and my pie was too full of liquid even after spending a night in the fridge. Despite that, it was delicious. The fruit maintained some texture, which is my preference, and the crust was flaky and buttery. If I had pulled back on the sugar and been able to make my dough edges prettier, it would have been a perfect pie. For now, I’ll settle for good enough 😉
You can likely find persimmons in the produce section or possibly cans of persimmon puree depending on how popular it is where you are. If you get fresh ones, chop off the tops, core, and peel before either pureeing or slicing. The recipe I used gives good, detailed instructions for how to prepare the persimmons and the pie crumble topping.
As soon as I find a way to help my father-in-law reach the fruit at the top of the tree, I’ll post some more persimmon recipes. Do you have a favorite persimmon recipe? Please share with us!