It's here. Christmas. My absolute favorite holiday. Even more so now that I live on the West coast, nearly 2,000 miles from my family and my foundation. I never really appreciated Christmas as a holiday, a mindset, an excuse to slow down and spend time with friends, family, and loved ones until now. It's a time to let go, to indulge, to be free, and truly relish in the comfort of winter. It's a celebration of love, comfort, and joy. It's all of my favorite things.
At one point in my life, Christmas stressed me out with all of the indulgent holiday treats and temptation everywhere. It was temptation that I was not allowing myself to partake in, and without even realizing it I was isolating myself from my loved ones and my foundation, my family. Christmas was a huge source of anxiety for me because I was so focused on the food and what food I could and couldn't have. If I old myself I wasn't allowed to eat a brownie at Christmas and caved, I would beat myself up for a day over it. I wasn't ever having fun at the Christmas parties.
Now, I am fully present at these gatherings. I am able to see and understand the very essence that they are about. I embrace it. I enjoy it. I'm able to stay present and even partake in it. The holidays are no longer about food, but about coming together, and food just happens to be apart of it. And a delicious part at that!
Now, onto the food stuff. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but this savory persimmon tart may just be the best darn thing I've made all year.
The other week, I stopped by the Hollywood Farmer's Market to pick up some produce for my week of recipe developing. My friend Laura of JJ's Lone Daughter Ranch is one of the best purveyors of fine fruits here in Los Angeles. She had the most beautiful persimmons, and a lot of them. I took 'em home and set out to make something savory with them.
But it wasn't easy. I scoured the internet looking for a good recipe. And I could barely find anything past "persimmon bundt cakes" and "persimmon pie" and persimmon baked into sweet breads. But I was determined to make it savory, gluten free, and 100% vegan.
It's a buttery rosemary crust topped with homemade persimmon thyme jam, persimmons brushed in olive oil, flaky sea salt, pistachios and almond milk ricotta. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or at 3:00 pm with your afternoon tea. It's perfect virtually at any time of day. I hope you make it for your loved ones this year and enjoy every. last. bite.
1 cup white rice flour
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 1/2 tsp arrowroot starch
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup fresh organic rosemary springs (chop some of them finely)
1 cup vegan butter, cold
6-8 tbsp ice cold water
12 persimmons, 4 large hachiya for the jam and 8 fuyu for the topping
1/2 cup lemon juice + 1 tbsp lemon zest
1 small bunch fresh thyme
2 tbsp sunflower lecithin
almond milk ricotta (I used Kite Hill)
crushed pistachio for topping
Make your jam. You can make this ahead of time. Chop 4 very large ripe hachiya persimmons up and place them in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add a few splashes of water. Cover for 4 minutes until boiling then reduce heat and simmer. Add thyme sprigs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sunflower lecithin and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Remove thyme branches from jam. Place in a mason jar and seal tightly.
Next, onto the crust. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Add the first 6 ingredients into a large mixing bowl: white rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, arrowroot starch, sea salt, and rosemary sprigs.
Next, cut the fat! Cube the butter into 1" pieces on a chopping board, and add it to the dry ingredients. Mix it all together with a pastry cutter. Don't use your hands or a spoon. If you don't have a pastry cutter, feel free to add it into a food processor and pulse it a few times for 3 seconds each. You want the butter in pea-size pieces.
Transfer back to a mixing bowl and add the ice cold water. Now you can mix with a wooden spoon. Add 6 tbsp and if it's too dry add 1-2 tbsp more until it mixes well.
Shape it into a ball and put it in plastic wrap in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight.
When you're ready to bake the pie, lay down some brown rice flour on a baking tray and lay down your crust directly onto the sheet. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of it and using a rolling pin, get to work and make it flat.
Bake it on the bottom rack for about 20 minutes or until light brown. Check on it often as to not overcook it and burn it like I did my first round!
Once the crust is firm and in place, remove from oven and spread a layer of thyme jam onto the crust. Next, cut your fuyu persimmons up thinly and lay them over the jam. Add a healthy amount of olive oil on top of the persimmons. Place back onto the bottom rack of the oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Cook for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and add your ricotta, pistachios, and flaky sea salt.
Share with friends. Enjoy.