√-1 2³ Σ π … and it tasted good.
A few weeks ago, a vendor at the market was selling persimmon pulp and persimmon cookbooks. She had samples too, which was a big selling point, because I had never tasted persimmon pudding before. I had heard of it, mostly acquaintances mentioning that their grandmothers made it as a special holiday treat. Usually these were people whose families had been farmers. Persimmons were completely out of my realm of experience.
So, I handed her some money and she gave me two cups of frozen pulp and a cookbook Old-Fashioned Persimmon Recipes (Bear Wallow Books, Indianapolis, © 1978). There were a few pages about “persimmon country” and the lore of persimmons, but it didn’t give enough information to satisfy my curiosity. Where’s a food anthropologist when you need one? I did find some more information on the internets, including that early pioneers didn’t like the fruit at first, but learned from the Algonquins that the bitter fruit became a sweet treat if it was left on the tree until late fall.
What more could be more fitting for a Thanksgiving feast? Besides, you must have pie at Thanksgiving!
It wasn’t difficult to make. Mix some sugar, eggs, milk, spices together. Add some flour.
Pour into a crust and bake!
I thought I had snapped a picture of the finished product, but all I have is what it looked like before it cooked. So imagine this, with the dough now a crust, baked to a nice golden tone. The pecans had a bit more brown on them than what I would have anticipated, but that just made it look more homemade.
I baked a pie. I ate some pie (√-1 2³ Σ π). And it was good!
Thanksgiving Persimmon Pie:, From Old-Fashioned Persimmon Recipes
1 9 inch unbaked pie shell
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c milk,
1 c persimmon pulp
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/3 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
Mix sugar, egg, vanilla, milk and pulp. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon. Gradually combine into wet ingredients. Pour in pie shell. Top with pecans. Bake 350 F for 30 – 35 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.
While I was looking for some history and traditions on persimmons, I found two things that I found particularly interesting.
There were three regiments in the Civil War known as the “Persimmon Regiment” because they looked for persimmons when they made camp. In the case of the Indiana 100th, on their way to the Battle of Vicksburg, the persimmons they collected helped to feed them once supply lines were cut off by the Confederate Armies.
And I found this love poem: Persimmons, by Li-Young Lee.
In sixth grade Mrs. Walker
slapped the back of my head
and made me stand in the corner
for not knowing the difference
between persimmon and precision.
How to choose
persimmons. This is precision.
Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted.
Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one
will be fragrant.
Read the rest here.