You can always make pumpkin pie.  Or pecan.  Or you can switch things up a bit.  In truth, we almost never stick with the pumpkin/pecan staples.  And I’m not saying you should follow suite.  But when Thanksgiving doesn’t look all that traditional around here, why should dessert?  How about a persimmon tart with a walnut cream frangipane, and a much-easier-than-pie-crust shortbread crust?!  Plus, shortbread crust is roughly 10 times tastier and 100x less fickle than pie crust.

I’m always shocked how few people have tried persimmons.  What are your thoughts??  I love persimmons.  I’ll even eat them raw.  The slightly spicy flavor pairs perfectly with the cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg this time of year.  Why aren’t we eating more persimmons people??  This sweet, buttery tart is a great way to introduce your friends and fam to this beautiful, sweet-yet-spicy seasonal fruit!

This tart is endlessly riffable!  I should know, since this recipe is a riff of my apple hazelnut tart with shortbread crust from last fall!  The frangipane can be made with countless types of nuts and topped with various fruits – just adjust your spices and flour accordingly (i.e. juicy apples need more flour than).

Everyone has been making pumpkin pie since October. And why is pecan pie seasonal, again? Persimmons are only around for a short-short while!  And that season happens to dovetail perfectly with Thanksgiving, so why not celebrate accordingly!?

What desserts will you be making this thanksgiving??  Any unusual Turkey Day dessert traditions?

Persimmon Walnut Cream Tart with Shortbread Crust

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: about 12 slices

Serving Size: 1 slice

Persimmon Walnut Cream Tart with Shortbread Crust

    For the crust:
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or additional all purpose flour)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. sugar, plus more for dusting pan
  • 1/2 cup tsbp. finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 8 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the walnut cream:
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsbp. all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • For the persimmon filling:
  • 1.5 - 2 persimmons, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. cloves
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • additional chopped walnuts for sprinkling

For the Frangipane:

In a food processor, pulse walnuts until coarsely chopped. Add sugar and pulse until very finely ground. Add flour and pulse to combine. Add butter and blend until smooth. Add egg and vanilla. Blend until combined.

Can be prepared and chilled up to 2 days ahead. Bring frangipane mixture to room temperature before use.

For the Crust

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare 10" tart pan by lightly greasing with butter and lightly dusting pan with sugar just until coated.

In a large bowl, whisk to combine walnuts, sugar, flour, and lemon zest. Add chilled and chopped butter. Use a pastry spatula or potato masher to work it into the dry ingredients. When pea sizes clumps form and butter is well worked into the dough, drizzle in the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Use pastry spatula again to work through dough. Dough will be very dry and will NOT form a cohesive ball or true "dough" but should clump somewhat when you squeeze it in your hand.

Press dough into the prepared tart dish. Bake for 8-10 minutes until set.

Remove from oven and set aside.

For the Apples

In a large bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Persimmons - especially when ripe are very delicate.  So it may be best to lay out the slices and sprinkle 1/2 of the sugar mixture over the top and carefully drizzle 1/2 of lemon juice and vanilla over the top.

We will sprinkle the remainder of the sugar mixture, vanilla, and lemon after placing persimmons on the tart.

To assemble and bake

Thinly spread frangipane over crust leaving a small 1/2 inch border along edge. Arrange persimmons with sugar side down on top of frangipane. Drizzle any of the juices that collected top. And sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture and drizzle remaining lemon juice and vanilla.  Sprinkle with a few chopped walnuts.

Bake at 375 degrees covered for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for additional 10-15 minutes. Persimmons will be soft and frangipane will be puffed slightly but puffiness will recede as it cools.

Wait until tart has cooled to room temperature before removing the edges of the tart pan or slicing. Best when eaten the first day.