By Karen Mangia, November 25th, 2014
The humble persimmon is nature’s greatest practical food joke in the making. Persimmons look beautiful hanging from trees, and many an unsuspecting guest to Hoosier farms has been lured into plucking one and taking a big bite, only to pucker in disgust. It stands to reason that fruit can be picked from a tree and consumed immediately. After all, consider the apple.
Persimmons are ripe when they fall from the trees, resulting in a person vs. deer contest to quickly gather the harvest. My mom is the youngest of six children, and she grew up on a farm in Orleans, IN. Her brothers still farm the property, which includes two prized persimmon trees. Pulping persimmons is a labor of love (or insanity, your call), so I recommend buying pulp if you’re trying recipes for the first time.
Growing up, I attended the persimmon festival in Mitchell, IN, and ate persimmon pudding at every family gathering. Persimmon pudding is a baked pudding that has the consistency of pumpkin pie and resembles a brownie. It’s always served with whipped cream. I had no idea it was such a delicacy until Chef Thom England and I started dating. He had never heard of it, and it remains the only food he does not tweak, tamper with or alter. If the way to a man’s heart is truly through his stomach, I’m certain persimmon pudding is how we ended up together.
We also trust the persimmon to forecast the weather. When you cut a ripe persimmon in half, you will see “silverware.” This year, we saw a spoon in the ripe persimmons from the farm, which means a snowy winter. And, we’ve had our first snow in November, so the forecast holds true.
I encourage you to try this humble Hoosier delicacy during the month of the persimmon. And, if revenge is a dish best served cold, take that pesky colleague out to pick a fresh persimmon off the tree.
Persimmon Tortellini with Apples in Brown Butter
Recipe by Thom England, CEC
30 wonton wrappers
1 cup persimmon pulp
1 egg, whisked
4 Tbsp. butter
1 apple, cut into wedges
5 sage leaves
1 tsp. garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste.
- Put a teaspoon of persimmon pulp in the middle of a wonton wrapper.
- Brush egg around edge of wrapper. Fold the wrapper over to form a diamond shape. Press around edge to seal. Continue process to form all the tortellini.
- Over medium heat, combine the tortellini, butter, apples and sage. Toss periodically. When butter begins to turn brown, turn off heat and toss in the garlic.
- Season to taste and serve.