Across Georgia this time of year there are persimmon trees everywhere, in full fruit. Their branches literally reach the ground they are so laden. While you most commonly see the native persimmon, you also see a variety of Asian persimmon, ‘Fuyu’, in gardens. A more robust, showy persimmon, the ‘Fuyu’ is a gorgeous specimen. A few years ago, we planted one in our backyard, inspired by a neighbor’s tree down the street. Now the tree yields more fruit than we alone can eat, and so we share it with friends. One of those friends is chef Hugh Acheson, with whom I collaborate regularly, who here shares a persimmon recipe from our recent book, The Broad Fork.
Recipe by Hugh Acheson
I never had Pop-Tarts growing up. I still to this day have never eaten a Pop-Tart, except ones I have made myself. So this may or may not be Pop-Tart-like. All I really know is it’s good.
Makes 4 pop tarts
For the filling:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups finely diced persimmons
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon pink peppercorns
1⁄4 teaspoon ascorbic or citric acid powder, or 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons whole milk
Prepare the filling:
In a small sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter until it bubbles and froths and then add the diced persimmons. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes, until the fruit is soft and jamlike. Add the sugar, vinegar, peppercorns, and ascorbic acid, and cook until the filling is almost dry, 2 to 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to the refrigerator to chill while you make the dough.
While the filling is chilling, make the dough:
Combine the flour, sugar, and the salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in the remaining cup of cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse sand. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and the milk. Add this to the flour mixture, and stir until thoroughly combined. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it in the refrigerator for 1 hour, at least. On a floured surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin to form a 1⁄4-inch-thick rectangle, continuously dusting the bottom and top of the dough to ensure it doesn’t stick. Cut out 4 rectangles, each roughly 4 x 6 inches. Spoon the filling evenly onto the rectangles, keeping it off-center towards the right side, leaving enough room for the dough to be folded over. Whisk the remaining egg, and lightly brush the right side of the dough with some of this egg wash (reserve the remainder). Fold the left side of the dough over the right, and using a floured fork, crimp the edges to seal them. Make sure that there are no air pockets inside each tart. Place the tarts on a baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F. Brush the top of the tarts with the remaining egg wash, and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
recipe by hugh acheson, photographs by rinne allen