When I was a kid, persimmons were always part of the festive holiday season. The honey-sweet fruit was in full season and we would have it straight up. It never dawned on me to eat in any other way. Recently, a delivery of persiMons arrived at the door and this variety from Spain offered more ways to explore the fruit.
The beautiful orange colour fruit resembles a peach but with smoother skin. Cultivated in the heart of the Ribera del Xúquer Valley, the fruit is more versatile when harvested. “It’s ready to eat anytime,” said celebrity chef Christine Cushing. WHAT? Even firm to the touch the fruit is perfectly enjoyable with a slight crunch similar to a pear or apple. But it’s also great if you leave it to ripen further so that the flesh resembles more of a plum-like texture. What I also discovered is that you can eat the skin of this variety. Other versions that I’m more accustomed to would never have us eating the skin for its toughness. The persiMon really surprised me and I’m hooked! I’ve managed to buy a case already at my local Loblaws.As mentioned, it’s a versatile fruit. You can work it into cocktails, side dishes and desserts. Christine Cushing showed just how easy it was to even bake a quick dessert…or breakfast in my house. The fruit is also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and is high in antioxidants.
Here’s is her recipe for an easy persiMon puff pastry tart that works for a weeknight or weekend dessert.
Christine Cushing’s persiMon Puff Pastry Tart
Puff Pastry Ingredients
1 1⁄2 cups (375 ml) all-purpose flour
1⁄2 tsp (2.5 ml) salt
1⁄2 cup (125 ml) cold water
3⁄4 cup (200 g) unsalted butter, cut into thin pieces and chilled
OR – 1lb (500g) frozen puff pastry
2 whole persiMon, thinly sliced into wedges
1⁄4 cup (50 ml) sugar
2 tbsp (15ml) apple jelly
2 tbsp (25 ml) pomegranate juice
1⁄2 cup (125 ml) almonds, thinly sliced several sprigs thyme, optional
Puff Pastry Directions:
1) Combine flour and salt in a bowl.
2) Add in the cold butter and turn onto board.
3) With a rolling pin work flour with butter until well blended.
4) Transfer back to the bowl and add in cold water.
5) Stir with a fork until it just comes together.
6) Knead briefly to make a semi-smooth dough.
7) Pat dough into a flat 1-inch thick rectangle.
8) Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
9) Roll the dough into a 5 by 12-inch rectangle. Keep it even.
10) Rotate the dough so it is horizontal. Fold the right side into the center then fold the left side to the centre.
11) Now fold the dough in half. That is now a completed full turn.
12) Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
13) Repeat the full turn, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
14) Cut dough in 1⁄2 and save the remaining dough for another tart.
1) Preheat oven to 410°F
2) Roll out pre-made dough or store bough to 1/4-inch thickness and cut a 10-inch
circle out of the pastry
3) Cut slits around the edges of the dough and turn inwards to form a crust
4) Place the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes
5) Remove from the freezer and sprinkle the dough with half the sugar
6) Arrange persiMon slices in a fan shape on the dough
7) Sprinkle with remaining sugar
8) Bake for 20-25 minutes
9) While the tart is baking, mix apple jelly and pomegranate juice together and add to a pan on medium heat
10) Cook until jelly and juice have reduced to a glaze
11) Remove tart from oven and brush with glaze
12) Sprinkle the edge with almonds and arrange thyme leaves
13) Bake the tart for an additional 5-8 minutes or until golden and glossy
You can leave the skin on the persiMons!
If you’re stuck for time, or just don’t want to make your own puff pastry from scratch, you can find rolled puffed pastry in the frozen dessert aisle at your favorite grocer.
I didn’t have almonds on hand but I did have pecans and toasted them slightly. Turned out just as yummy!