Ginger {persimmon} spice.. zig-a-zig-ah

Apologies for the dead air folks.. I’m sooooo behind on SMS bakes at the moment, and I’m even struggling to find time (and space in the holiday baking calender) to get through my other monthly commitments.  A few days ago though, I opened the fruit drawer in the fridge to find a bucket load of soon-to-be overripe persimmons that I’d bought in a fit of madness a few weeks ago, so I made the time.  I baked a pie to celebrate Thanksgiving without spoiling my appetite for the numerous pumpkin and pecan slices I intend on devouring during TWO belated T-day celebrations I’m attending and hosting in the next few weeks.  I’ve never baked with persimmons before, but I have deliciously fond memories of kaki crumbles my mom used to make when I was growing up.  SO when I found a recipe for Persimmon Pie in the Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy-Beranbaum, I decided to pimp things up with a crumble topping.  I took the fact that Rose’s suggested crust was of the gingersnap cookie variety as implying that persimmon & ginger go hand in hand, so I also opted for the gingersnap crumble from the Sweet Melissa Baking Book.  (Just so I can pretend I’m keeping up with my SMS duties.. sort of…in some way…maybe?)

Now, I’m sure many of you savvy bakers, persimmon afficianados and gingersnap munchers are probably thinking – Gingersnap crust AND ginger crumble topping? Are you mad, June?  That subtle persimmon flavour will melt under so much heat! And you’re right.  Melt they did – into a creamy, spicy fruit layer which smacked more of ginger than persimmon, as one would expect, even though I doubled up on the persimmon chunks called for in Rose’s recipe.  But it worked.  Oddly, my boyfriend described the fruit filling as “chocolatey”, which made little sense to me – it tasted nothing like chocolate – but maybe he was referring to the smooth gooey texture..?  Plus, I can count the number of times I’ve seen him eat chocolate on one hand.. so there you go.   Anyway, this sweet & spicy pie was the perfect treat to warm things up as winter settles is – give it a try as written below if you love ginger.  You can find the gingersnap crumble recipe here on Jennifer’s lovely blog.  Alternatively, dial down the heat by leaving out the candied ginger in the filling or using a different crumble topping.

ignore the unsightly line across the crumble - that was the result of my crust cover..(which was completely unnecessary by the way)

Gingersnap Crumb Crust from the Pie and Pastry Bible - you can find the gingersnap nut crumb crust recipe that Rose suggested here

180 grams (1 1/2 cups) gingersnap crumbs

2 pinches salt

71 grams (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Process the cookies with the salt until you’re left with fine crumbs (about 20 seconds), then add the melted butter and pulse about 10 times, just until incorporated.  Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, begin by pressing the mixture into the bottom of the pie pan and partway up the sides.  To keep the crumbs from sticking to your fingers, it helps to place a piece of plastic wrap over the crumbs and press them through the wrap.  Be sure to press the bottom thoroughly so that the crumbs are evenly distributed.

Persimmon Pie – adapted from the Pie and Pastry Bible

5 small Fuyu persimmons, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch chunks (Rose actually suggests using 2, but I wanted a chunkier texture)

247 grams (1 cup) persimmon puree (I scooped out and processed the pulp of 3 overripe Fuyu’s, but you could also use ripe Hachiyas as Rose suggests)

160 grams (2/3 cup) milk

108 grams (1/2 cup) light brown sugar

1 large egg

94 grams (2/3 cup) bleached all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

14 grams (1 Tbs) unsalted butter, melted

33 grams (1/3 cup) walnut halves, chopped

2 tsp candied ginger, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350F (or 325F if using a pyrex pie plate).  Set an oven rack just below the middle of the oven before preheating.
Process the persimmon puree with the milk, brown, sugar and egg for about 8 seconds or until smooth.  In a small bowl, whisk toether the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add it to the food processor and pulse about 8 times or until incorporated.  Add the butter and pulse about 4 imes or until incorporated.  Add the chopped persimmon, walnuts, candied ginger and pulse twice, just to incorporate.  (You’ll have bout 3 1/2 cups of filling).  Immediately pour the filling into the prepared pie crust (the acidity in the persimmon reacting with baking soda will cause the mixture to stiffen quickly.)  The filling will reach almost to the top.  Smooth the surface and sprinkle the crumble over the top (I probably had double the amount of crumble needed and although I managed to pat it all into a giant crumble mount, you might want to halve Melissa’s recipe..)
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the crumble has browned a bit and a thin knife blade inserted about an inch from the centre comes out clean.  The filling will have puffed out slightly but on cooling it will all settle.  Serve warm or at room temperature accompanied with creme fraiche or whipped cream.  (The pie can be reheated for 10 mins at 350F.  Be sure to keep the crust shielded with aluminum foil.)

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1 Comment

Filed under crumbles, fruit, pies & tarts

One response to “Ginger {persimmon} spice.. zig-a-zig-ah

  1. ok so this looks really really good. never had persimmons. i’ve always wanted to try them though, so this miiiight be the time :)

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