Saturday, October 27, 2007

Like a Phoenix from the Ashes

As you may remember, Southern California is ablaze. Things have gotten better, but in some areas its hard to believe that because of the ridiculous amount of ash in the air, on cars, on EVERY surface. Since my home is safe, I've been trying to keep in touch with others in more dangerous zones. When I asked one of my San Diego friends if she needed anything, she quickly responded that she needed someone to take her mountains of persimmons off her hands.

I happily obliged, thinking I would get a couple of the sweet fruit. She presented me with a bag overflowing with persimmons - enough to last me the winter. She cautioned me to wash them well, since they were covered in ash.

Persimmons are orange-y fruits that resemble little tomatoes. The insides have the consistency of plums, but a very different taste. I like to describe them as a cross between a peach and a cinnamon stick. I usually eat them plain, but have been dying to try them mixed with another firm fruit in a pastry. I started the pairings in my head - peach, apple, pear. A trip to the supermarket revealed that peaches are no longer in season, so I loaded up my cart with apples and pears and took them home to play.

My first adventure was a pear and persimmon pie. I was a little nervous since I'd only made pie crust once before - and that time I brought it to a party where the hostess didn't serve it, so I don't even know if the recipe is any good! I made the crust, loaded it up with the filling, and threw it in the oven and crossed my fingers.

The results were AMAZING. I kept poking and prodding to make sure the fruit was getting cooked enough, and even sniggled out a little persimmon slice "to check it". Once I'd done that I had a hard time waiting for dessert. The pie was perfect! Wouldn't change a thing and oh so easy to make. The pears and persimmons worked really well in creating a sweet flavor that neither overpowered. It was just a sweet filling, and a very flaky crust. It might be the best thing to come out of the San Diego fires!


Pear and Persimmon Pie
Crust:
1 1/4 cup AP Flour
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces and frozen
2 Tbsp shortening
Ice Water

1) Combine flour and salt in food processor. Pulse 3-4 times.
2) Add butter and pulse 8-10 times.
3) Add shortening and pulse 5-7 times.
4) Add couple of tablespoons of water, just to moisten. Pulse 3 more times. Repeat this step.
5) Place dough in large ziplock bag and shape into disk 5 inches across. Seal bag and refrigerate half an hour.
6) Place sheet pan and 2 pie pans in freezer
7) Remove dough from fridge and while it's still in the bag, roll disk to 10-12 inches across.
8) Remove pans from freezer. Place dough (in bag) on sheet pan. Use a knife to cut both sides of the bag, and peel back the part that covers the dough.
9) Place one pie plate on top of the dough right side up. Holding pan in place slide other hand under sheet pan and flip the whole thing over. Then take away the sheet pan.
10) Place other pan, inverted, on top of dough and push gently down. Flip the whole thing back over again.
11) Form crust and use a fork to poke the bottom of the crust 6-8 times.

Filling:
2 pears
2 persimmons
1/2 cup sugar
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp AP flour

1) Preheat oven to 425.
2) Peel pears and persimmons and slice thinly. Add lemon juice.
3) Combine sugar, cinnamon, and flour and combine with fruit.
4) Pour filling into unbaked pie crust.
5) Cook for 20 minutes
6) Sprinkle topping over top and cook for 5 more minutes

Topping:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter, cut into small piece.

1) Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt in food processor. Pulse 3 times.
2) Add butter, pulse until crumby.

7 comments:

  1. i'm impressed, as i usually am while reading your blog. looks fantastic!

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  2. I hate persimmons, but I love pears. I would like to try your pie to see if the pears would win me over!

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  3. i should try this as MIL just gave us a bag full of persimmons as well, and neither of us like them raw. pears + pie crust might make them yummy, though.

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  4. this looks incredible! i need to make a pie.

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  5. Persimmoms are ome of my favorite fruits!! Mext time you make this pie please tell me, I'd gladly pay some tuppemce for a piece.

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  6. SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO good. See a theme here?

    So good.

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  7. My MIL brought over a big bag of persimmons and my neighbor left a box of pears on my doorstep. Googled pear and persimmon recipes and found this. Delicious! I didn't make my crust - too lazy. Used the roll out kind. My crust edge got pretty dark at 425 but not burned. Love the gooey filling and textures.

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