Holiday Desserts: Pear and Persimmon Galettes

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Pear Persimmon Galettes

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 Persimmon GalettesPersimmons PearsPersimmon SlicesPear Persimmon GalettesPear Persimmon Galettes

Pear and Persimmon Mini Galettes

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 8-10Published
Pear and Persimmon Mini Galettes

Ingredients

  • 390 gram all-purpose flour (scooped and leveled, about 2 3/4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 18 tablespoon unsalted butter (very cold high-fat, European-style unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch dice)
  • 2-3 ice cubes
  • ⅓ cup cold water (plus 2 tablespoons optional)
  • 2 ripe but firm pears (peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch dice)
  • 4 ripe but firm fuyu persimmons (peeled and cut into ½-inch dice)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon corn starch
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg yolk (mixed with 1 teaspoon water, as egg wash)
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (or as needed)

Directions

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment pulse flour and salt 5 or 6 times until well combined. Add butter, and continue pulsing 10 or 12 more times until the mixture is crumbly and coarse, with various-sized but obvious chunks of butter scattered throughout. Place two ice cubes, broken up if necessary into the feed tube of the food processor. With machine running, pour up to ⅓ cup cold water through the ice filled feed tube a tablespoon at a time until dough just comes together and begins to pull cleanly away from the sides of the bowl in jagged clumps. Don’t let the machine run too long and don’t worry if you don’t use all the water. Overworked dough and/or too much water are the main culprits in pastry that is tough or dense. However, in warm weather or dry climates you may need up to an additional 2 tablespoons more cold water. You’ll learn to know when it’s the right balance of wet and dry.

Move the dough to a lightly-floured work surface and gently knead 2 or 3 times. If the dough seems quite sticky or at all wet, sprinkle in another few teaspoons flour. Give dough another couple of quick, gentle kneads. Divide dough into eight to ten equal-sized portions. Roll each one into a 2 ½-inch ball and place them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Wrap the baking sheet in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days).

Place the oven racks in the top and center positions. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the dough balls from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature about 10 minutes. On a lightly floured surface use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll each ball into a 6-inch round a generous 1/8-inch thick. Move the rounds to one or two parchment-lined baking sheets as you work. Chill the rounds at least 10 minutes.

In a large bowl toss pears, persimmons, lemon juice, brown sugar, corn starch, and ground cinnamon. Let the mixture rest about 10 minutes.

Remove the pastry rounds from the refrigerator. Scoop a scant ½-cup of the filling into the center of each of the pastry rounds leaving a 1-inch border all the way around. Gently fold the rim inward, overlapping as needed to form the galettes. Chill the filled galettes about 10 minutes, then brush exposed dough with egg wash and sprinkle the edges with turbinado sugar.

Bake the mini galettes in the heated oven, rotating the sheets halfway through, until well browned and bubbly; about 18 to 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pear and Persimmon Galettes