One of the things I love most about Autumn is the arrival of persimmons. I love their gorgeous color, subtle sweetness and overall precious appearance. Describing the flavor of a persimmon to one who has never tasted the fruit is a bit tricky. I often refer to the fuyu variety as having a naturally sweet pumpkin flavor with the texture of a crisp nectarine. While I do enjoy the Hachiya variety, which has an almost gelatinous texture when eaten properly, I often don’t have the patience for their ripening process (which can take weeks!).
Living in California means that it’s likely that a friend or neighbor has their very own persimmon tree, and it is such a treat when said friend or neighbor delivers a bag full of home grown persimmons right to your door. I recently acquired a few pounds of fuyus and although I could eat a persimmon (or two or three) a day, I thought it would be more exciting to bake with these beauties.
After a morning of searching cookbooks and other resources, I realized that there is a major shortage of persimmon recipes out there. Inspired by the stone fruit galettes of Summer, I layered sliced persimmons over frangipane cream on a buttery tart dough. The combination of the smooth almond filling, tender but slightly crunchy fruit, and the flaky crust was the perfect way to end a Sunday dinner with my tiny eighty-four year old Granny, who has the appetite of someone half her age and twice her size, and is also a persimmon fan.
makes one 11 inch tart
Basic Tart Dough
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup ice-cold water
Combine flour, salt and butter with a pastry blender. While stirring with a fork, slowly add cold water until dough begins to form clumps. Add a bit more water if necessary but be mindful not to add too much as this will result in a tough crust. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Flatten ball into a disc and refrigerate for at least one hour before rolling.
Note: This recipe yields enough for two tarts. I had planned on listing the ingredients to reflect a half portion, but dividing 1 egg for the conversion made it somewhat complicated.
1 cup raw or blanched almonds
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and divided into 6 pieces
Combine almonds, salt and sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Add the egg and process until combined. Add the butter and process until smooth.
3-6 fuyu persimmons, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
3 tablespoons butter, melted
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400°. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. Place dough on a baking sheet and transfer to the refrigerator. Toss the persimmons with 1 tablespoon sugar and orange zest. Set aside. Remove dough from refrigerator and spread 1/2 of frangipane cream on dough, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border. Lay persimmon slices on top of frangipane, overlapping fruit tightly in circles. Fold the dough border over the persimmons and brush dough with butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. Brush remaining butter on fruit and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar combined with nutmeg. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven until crust is golden on the bottom, 45-55 minutes. Let cool on a rack. Best served immediately.