Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fuyu Persimmon Pie

There are two types of persimmon typically available in the U.S.:  hachiya and fuyu.  Hachiya are an astringent variety, meaning they contain very high levels of tannins when unripe.  An unripe hachiya is bitter and can leave a thick mouth-feel after a bite ("furry").  Shaped like acorns, hachiya are also extremely soft when ripe.  The texture of the fruit is jelly-like and very squishible.

The more common variety I see in Northern California is the fuyu persimmon and this is the type I'm using in my pie.  This pumpkin-shaped, non-astringent variety can be eaten at varying levels of ripeness, depending on your preference, and is as crisp as an apple.  Though edible, I am not a fan of the stiff skin.  However, if my older sister, Kim, is around or my mom sees me throwing it away, I must eat it lest they mock me for throwing away the vitamins (my god, the vitamins!).

Here you can see the varying size difference in fuyu.  The little guys on the left are from my brother's tree.  The taste of them are deeply honeyed and the flesh is darker in color in comparison to the one on the right, which is from a different tree.

 For this pie, I sliced the persimmon thinly and added in about 1/3 cup of white sugar, a very juicy lime (would have used an orange had I one on hand), and a dash of nutmeg and clove.  I let the mixture soak for a few hours while I went to class. 
The pile of glossy, spiced orange fruit slices

I was super lazy and used a prepared pie crust, baked preheated at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 Celsius, gas mark 6) for 25 minutes.  It came out perfectly!  Warm but tart, and somehow reminiscent of vanilla (due to the nutmeg and sugar I suppose) but not cloyingly sweet.  I had a slice last night with a light cup of sencha and this morning with black coffee.

If you're not a bum like me and want to make your own crust, I suggest using Nigella Lawson's recipe for sweet pastry dough.  It's the only one I've ever used and it's infallible.  For research purposes, I've reproduced the section on pastry from her book, [Disclosure] How to Eat, in a Google document: Pastry  I highly recommend purchasing this book.  It's my favorite how-to cookbook and a great one for novice bakers and cooks alike.

Hades, my 10-month old German Shepherd, loves to lie about the kitchen when I'm cooking or eating.  He looks kinda grouchy here but he's just tired and waiting patiently. 

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