There are logs cracking in my fireplace. The cool weather has arrived and it seems to want to stick around for awhile. It’s the time of year when I’m reminded that pies, tarts, and galettes can be like well-worn blankets: warm, satisfying and marvelously easy to snuggle into. Berries, stone fruit, or something with a core – there’s a lot of wonderful fruit in this world and most of it benefits nicely by being tucked, wrapped or baked inside a delectable crust. So I’ve decided to roll out some freshly made pastry for the first of the holiday desserts I have planned: Pear and Persimmon Galettes.
When it comes to produce we tend to eat seasonally at my house. That’s partly due to the realities of my shopping habits. I prefer to go to the market everyday. The closest market to my house is an Armenian-owned Latin market with a small selection of produce that’s mostly locally grown and seasonal to Southern California. If I want asparagus in winter (and sometimes I do) then I need to put the extra effort into a trip to Trader Joe’s or Gelson’s or Whole Foods. These are the markets where you can get plums from Chile in February or asparagus from wherever anytime of the year.
I’m not making an argument against imported produce. Imported produce is a reality (and a reluctant benefit) of my modern day life. Still, on a day-to-day basis I prefer to shop small and local. Which means when I’m in the mood for a spur-of-the-moment, fruit-filled holiday dessert the easiest answer for me is to reach for the pears and persimmons that my neighborhood Latin market prominently features this time of year. Pear and Persimmon Galettes.
Like asparagus, pears from somewhere are available all year long. I’ll admit that when I’m at one of the big chain stores I usually pick up pears (or apples or grapes). While these fruits are tasty, I’d probably not waste my energy baking with them out of season. That’s because seasonal fruit is so much more deserving. Especially when tucked inside a pie. Pear and Persimmon Galettes.
Persimmons, however, are a different story. I almost never find them at any other time of the year than right now. Maybe it’s the scarcity – but I admit to a strong affection for seasonal persimmons.
Pear and Persimmon Galettes
Where I live the persimmon is a common backyard fruit tree. I like to watch its seasonal progress as I walk the streets in the old Hollywood Hills neighborhood where I live. In the summer the leaves are green and lush, but the tree doesn’t look particularly special. Come autumn the trees begin to set loads of green fruit, hinting at what’s to come. By December they’ve usually dropped their leaves, creating a gray tangle dotted with crimson orbs silhouetted against the sky. It’s a beautiful sight. I’ve lived in Los Angeles long enough to begin to consider the persimmon tree the real true Christmas tree. The first harbinger of the season. A hint that the holidays are coming.
This year however we’re struggling through the fourth year of drought. My neighborhood has lost some trees, many of them fruit trees (including persimmon). The little fruit that remains is too hard and too small to use in holiday galettes. I feared we were in for a persimmonless holiday.
However, when I saw that my neighborhood market had seasonal pears and local persimmons I knew just what I had to do. Pear and Persimmon Galettes. GREG
Pear and Persimmon Galettes