ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Persimmon Pie” by MARBALET at Allrecipes.com, and dough from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone*
TIMING: 1 1/2 hours, and more to cool and set
DIFFICULTY: It takes some kitchen skill
TOOLS: A pie dish (preferably deep) and a food processor. A pastry cutter is helpful
COOK TYPE: Oven. Baking
HEALTH: A pie’s a pie. This one has fresh fruit in it, but it also has plenty of sugar and butter, as well as white flour.
EXPERIENCE: I saw persimmons at the grocery store. Fall was in the air. And I grabbed two, not having a clue what I would do with them. When I got them home and realized that my trusty Local Flavors only had recipes calling for much more than 2 persimmons, I hied me over to the internet. There, I fond a recipe with a simply magical name.
It’s a poem unto itself.
Unfortunately, the pie is not quite as poetic as its title. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a nice pie and–if you were accustomed to it–it might even be a great pie. The problem is, persimmon pie is one of those things that is hard to enjoy without prior exposure. It just didn’t fit into any sort of category we could find in our food pasts.
So I’m not discouraging you from making it. I’m just warning you that it won’t feel like pumpkin or apple pie.
NOTES: I have made some adjustments which I think add a little sophistication to a pie that needed a little dimension. Hopefully it worked.
I also think that pie crusts are better when about 1/3 of the fat comes from a non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening. I didn’t do that in this recipe, but feel free to substitute 1/4-1/3 of the butter with shortening.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add in diced 4 ounces cold butter. Cut butter in with a pastry cutter or work it in with your hands. You want a sandy mix which holds together when you squeeze it.
- In a small bowl, take some cold water and add ice. Add 2 tablespoons limoncello (or vodka) to your dough, then ice water a tablespoon at a time. Stop when the dough sticks together in a ball, but before it is tacky.
- Mold the dough into a ball then flatten into a disk with smooth edges. Wrap in plastic wrap or Press N Seal and set in the fridge until you are ready to bake.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425F.
- Take your cold dough and place it on a floured surface. Roll it out with a rolling pin until wide around enough to cover a pie pan in the bottom and up the sides, with leftover.
- Roll the dough up on the pin, grab a pie pan, and unroll the dough onto the pan. Trim the excess, crimp the crust to your style, and poke the bottom of the crust with a few fork holes.
- Set in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Fill the pie crust with pie weights or dry beans and bake for about 25 minutes until lightly colored.
- When crust is done, set aside, remove pie weights, and change the heat on the oven to 450F.
- Meanwhile, cut 2 large–or even 3–ripe persimmons in half. Scoop out the pulp all the way to the skin, seeding if necessary. Place the pulp in a small food processor and blend into a puree.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the persimmon with 2 beaten eggs, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, the juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup half-and-half. Pour mixture into the pie crust.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake another 1/2 hour. If pie is firm enough at this point, decorate with your shapes. After another 15 minutes, check to see if the pie is set.
- Cool before serving.
Serve with vanilla bean ice cream, or a coffee float made with vanilla bean ice cream.
*Recipe changed from the original.