Tag Archives: Persimmon

Grilled Goat Cheese, Apple & Persimmon Sandwich

I did not make this gorgeous loaf of Challah.  I bought it on the West Mall of campus from UT Challah for Hunger for just $5. Challah for Hunger is a national project that empowers college students to raise funds for and bring awareness to national disaster and humanitarian issues by selling bread on campus once a week. The students make the bread themselves (for proof, check out the adorable pictures on their Facebook page) and they sell it every Wednesday from 12-3 PM.  The UT chapter sells original, cinnamon sugar, and chocolate chip challah each week for just $5 a loaf, plus a “secret flavor” announced on their Facebook page.  Past secret flavors include pumpkin, raspberry chocolate chip, and tomato and garlic. These kids are gourmet! Whoever runs the UT chapter Facebook page is also a clever photo editor.

I had originally planned to make baked sweet potatoes with apple persimmon compote for dinner tonight.  That idea went out the window as soon as I bought the challah bread.  Instead I paired the spicy compote with creamy goat cheese inside the challah for a sophisticated variation on a classic grilled cheese sandwich.  I had prepared the compote ahead, so my total hands-on time for dinner tonight was about 5 minutes.

Grilled Goat Cheese, Apple and Persimmon Sandwich (2 sandwiches)
1/4 cup apple persimmon compote
4, 1/2 inch slices challah
2 ounces goat cheese
1 tablespoon butter

Set out butter and goat cheese and allow to come to room temperature(ish). Slice challah. Preheat skillet over medium heat. Generously butter one side of a slice of bread and place butter-side-down on the skillet.  Break up goat cheese and distribute it across the slice of bread as evenly as you can; top with compote. Butter one side of the remaining slice of bread and place butter-side-up on sandwich.  After sandwich has cooked about 3 minutes on first side, gently flip to the other side using a spatula.  Continue grilling until cheese is melted and the second slice of bread is lightly toasted.  Repeat with remaining ingredients to make another sandwich.  Try not to eat both of them before you can take good pictures for your blog.  I showed great self restraint and at least got this one while the sandwich was still in the skillet.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

*Special thanks to my friend Amy for taking the challah picture at the beginning of this post and all my outfit pictures for Kendi Everyday’s 30×30 challenge. You can see more of Amy’s photography and keep up with my progress here.

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Thanksgiving: Mini Apple Persimmon Pies (Vegan)

This weekend was one of the few times my “real” job intersected with my food blog.  I had the distinct pleasure of making a few dishes for a Thanksgiving potluck hosted by one of my colleagues.  He hosted the party in honor of a visiting saxophone quartet from Helsinki, Finland.  This meal was the quartet’s first-ever American Thanksgiving, and I made a sweet potato pie and these adorable apple persimmon pies to share with our visiting friends.

I originally planned to make a large, double crust American apple pie. However, I just couldn’t resist the persimmons at the farmer’s market last weekend, so into the filling they went! Since this recipe was still in the testing process, I elected to make mini pies instead of one big one so that I could sample the finished product before the potluck. I’m happy to say the little pies were a big hit at the party.  The leaf-shaped top crust looked very sweet on the buffet, and the intense flavors of the pie filling worked better in small bites than they would have in a big pie slice.  After dinner, the quartet gave an impromptu performance in front of the potluck dessert spread. You can see that my mini pies were in good company: besides the musicians, there are seven pies, a noodle kugel, two kinds of vegan cupcakes, and two kinds of whipped cream around the dining room table!

Below are step by step instructions for making the mini pies.   I filled them with apple persimmon compote but any compote, jelly or jam, or prepared pie filling would work.  I do not recommend using raw fruit filling for mini pies; in the test batches I made, raw fruit cooked a little unevenly in the small pie crusts.  Also, keep in mind that the fruit pieces for this recipe need to be very small.  Any large chunks of fruit that extend above the pastry crust tend to dry out and burn.

Mini Apple Persimmon Pies (makes 36 mini pies)

Crust:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup very cold vegetable shortening
8 tablespoons ice water

Filling:
4 Fuyu persimmons
3 apples
1/4 c. butter or vegan margarine
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (about a 1 inch section)
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice, apple juice, or rum

First, prepare pie crust. I have the best luck making vegan pie crust in the food processor. In the food processor, pulse flour and very cold shortening until shortening pieces are about the size of walnuts.  Add ice water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing in the processor, until dough comes together in a ball.  Once dough holds its shape, remove from the processor bowl and store, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the fridge for up to a week or frozen for up to one month.  If you freeze dough, allow to thaw in the fridge for 24 hours before proceeding with recipe.

To prepare pie filling: peel, core, and dice apples and persimmons. Saute fruit in a large skillet in vegan margarine for about 5 minutes until fruit starts to soften. Add grated ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, allspice and black pepper, brown sugar, and orange juice to skillet. Cover and cook over medium heat for half an hour, stirring occasionally. Allow filling to come to room temperature before assembling pies, or better yet, store it in the fridge for up to a week. (This recipe is a good make-ahead choice for Thanksgiving.)

Finally, it’s time to assemble the mini pies. You’ll need a rolling pin, pastry brush, bench scraper, mini muffin tins, 2 1/4 inch biscuit cutter or a drinking glass with that diameter, and mini cookie cutters in the shape of your choice. (I used leaf shaped cutters.) All these supplies are available in Austin at All in One Bake Shop.

Prepare your workstation by gathering all these supplies, plus a small dish with all purpose flour for rolling and another with a few tablespoons of melted vegan margarine.  Next, divide the pie crust dough into two parts.  Rewrap one piece of dough in the plastic and put it back in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Finally, were’ ready to do this thing!! There are five basic steps to assembling these mini pies:

  1. On a floured surface, roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.
  2. Cut 36 bottom crusts with a 2 1/4 inch biscuit cutter or glass and put the crusts in a mini muffin tin.  Use your fingers to push the crusts firmly into the bottom edges of the muffin cups. As necessary, gather up crust scraps, smoosh them together and reroll them.
  3. Fill the mini pies with 1/2 tablespoon filling each.
  4. Cut out the top crusts with a mini cookie cutter and smoosh them onto the top of the pies. Use the bench scraper as necessary to move the delicate dough shapes without stretching them.
  5. Brush each mini pie with melted vegan margarine.
  6. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until crust is lightly brown. Cool in the mini muffin tins for 10 minutes before using a thin-bladed knife to gently lift each pie out of the tin to finish cooling. Do not store in an airtight container until completely cool; pies will get soggy otherwise.

These mini pies stayed fresh overnight on my kitchen counter and tasted great at room temperature at the potluck.  No need to garnish with whipped cream, etc.  Since each pie is so tiny, it’s best as a stand-alone dessert. For easy potluck transport, place cooled pies back into muffin tins and transfer to a serving platter at the event.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

*Thanks to Nathan Russell Photography for taking pictures of the finished mini pies and for loaning me the tripod and light kit I used to capture the step-by-step images.

Apple Persimmon Compote

Persimmons and apples are a natural duet;  the spicy sweetness of the persimmon is complemented by the apple’s tart flavor, and the flesh of both fruits are similar enough that they cook at the same speed.  I originally conceptualized this apple-persimmon pairing as a filling for mini pies, but it has lots of other delicious uses.

Image by Nathan Russell

Traditionally, compotes are served as a dessert, either chilled or warmed and garnished with whipped cream.  However, you’re selling the dish short if you limit it to just desserts!  Here’s are some ideas for how to use this recipe in your meal plans:

  • Breakfast: as a topping for oatmeal or other hot cereal
  • Breakfast: in a parfait with yogurt and granola
  • Breakfast: with cottage cheese or Greek yogurt
  • Breakfast: over pancakes or waffles or in crepes
  • Snack: instead of applesauce
  • Snack: as a dip for cinnamon sugar pita chips
  • Lunch: with cream cheese in a sandwich
  • Lunch: with roast turkey and Dijon mustard in a sandwich
  • Lunch: with goat cheese in a quesadilla or Panini
  • Dinner: as an appetizer, baked in Phylo dough with a round of brie
  • Dinner: heated over top of baked pork chops, chicken, or turkey
  • Dinner: over top of a baked sweet potato
  • Dessert: over ice cream or whipped cream
  • Dessert: in mini pies (the flavor is too strong for big pies)
  • Dessert: as filling in a pastry braid or sweet rolls
  • Dessert: as a filling for a spice cake with cream cheese icing

Preparing this compote is quick and easy.  The most difficult part of the process is identifying which kind of persimmon you’re working with, and then peeling and coring fruit.  There are two kinds of persimmons: Fuyu and Hachiya.  Hachiya persimmons are heart-shaped, with pointy bottoms.  Fuyus have flatter bottoms and look more like tomatoes.  This recipe calls for the firm-fleshed Fuyus.  However, you could substitute the pulp of very ripe Hachiyas if that’s what you have on hand.  Here are detailed instructions for ripening and cooking with Hachiya persimmons.  Below are instructions for coring and peeling apples and Fuyu persimmons.

Here’s the full recipe.  It doubles or triples well if you’re looking to feed a crowd, and the finished compote will last about a week in a tupperware in the fridge.

Apple Persimmon Compote (yields 2 cups)

4 Fuyu persimmons
3 apples
1/4 c. butter or vegan margarine
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (about a 1 inch section)
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice, apple juice, or rum

Peel, core, and dice persimmons and apples.  Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet and saute fruit for about 5 minutes, until it starts to soften and give off a little liquid.  Meanwhile, grate ginger and measure out cinnamon, vanilla, allspice, ground pepper, brown sugar, and rum.  Add all ingredients to the skillet, cover and continue to cook over medium heat for about half an hour, until the fruit reaches desired tenderness.  Stir occasionally and add a little water if necessary to keep compote from drying out. (Shouldn’t be a problem if your skillet’s covered, but burned brown sugar and fruit is no fun to clean up later!) Serve creatively and enjoy!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

This post is sponsored by Greenling Organic Delivery and also appears on their blog, “Eating Out of the Local Box.”

the flesh of both fruits is similar enough that they are easy to cook together, and