Orange things. Better yet, round orange things. Then throw in autumn and you’re onto something. Pumpkins, Cara Cara oranges, Red Kuri squash, and the queen of them all, the lovely persimmon. Around mid-autumn, we see these little orange globes hanging from bare branches, and images of Halloween and black cats come to mind. These tree-dwellers come in two varieties, the non-astringent (Fuyu) and the astringent (Hachiya), the one that makes your mouth feel like the Sahara desert. In Italy, persimmons first showed up in Florence in the Medici Boboli Gardens in the 1500s but did not seem to appear in formal recipes until much later. For this tart, I used the Fuyu variety because their firm texture makes them ideal for baking.
The dough is a simple short-crust pastry, just like my Nana used to put around her apple pies. Enjoy with a cup of coffee, hot chocolate or sweet wine. Buon appetito!
Cachi e Noci Crostata - Persimmon and Walnut Tart
- 9 inch tart pan or pie pan
Pastry Dough (can substiute puff pastry)
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp. ice-cold water
- 7 tbsp. butter, cold from the fridge
- ½ tsp. salt (if using unsalted butter)
- 5-6 Fuyu persimmons, cut into ¼ in slices, skin on
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 cup cranberry sauce or applesauce
- ½ cup fresh pomegranate seeds
For blind baking
- 3 cups dried beans, any kind
- large piece of parchment paper (12 in. x 12 in.)
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Add flour and salt to a mixing bowl. Cut butter into small cubes and add to the flour. Make sure the butter is very cold, right out of the refrigerator. Next, using your thumbs and fingertips, work the butter into the flour until the butter is in pea-sized pieces.
- Once the butter is incorporated into the flour, add the 3 Tablespoons ice-cold water. Use a fork to very gently mix in the water until the dough begins to hold together. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. The secret is to incorporate the butter into the flour with as little handling as possible so as not to create gluten and a tough dough.
- Meanwhile, slice and toss the persimmons in sugar and cinnamon. Set aside to let fruit macerate.Before rolling out the tart dough, remove a chunk, about ¼ cup in size and set aside for the topping. On a lightly floured board, roll out the rest of the dough into a 10-inch circle. Fold dough circle in half, lift carefully and place in tart pan. Gently press the dough against the sides of the scalloped edge and remove any extra dough. Blind bake: Line the dough with parchment paper and fill with beans. The beans will keep the dough from bubbling up during baking. Bake the whole package at 350 °F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and remove the parchment paper and beans. Let the crust cool a bit and spread the applesauce or cranberry along the bottom.
- Next, arrange persimmon mixture on the dough. Take reserved ¼ cup of dough and break it into small chunks and sprinkle on top of the persimmon mixture. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and pomegranate seeds.
- Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes until the fruit is soft.
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