Change up your fall dessert options with healthy and gluten-free persimmon pie. This fruity pie is flavorful and unique with an oatmeal, date, and pecan based crust that is so easy to make. It’s absolutely delicious served with whipped cream and pecans.
This time of year is just perfect for baking. A warm oven is welcome, and bright fruit pies bring a bit of brightness to dark days. And while I am sure you have eaten apple pie, pumpkin pie, or even cranberry pie, have you ever tried persimmon pie?
This unique Asian fruit is only available for a short time each year, so I thought pie was a perfect way to celebrate it. Similar in consistency to a pumpkin pie, but a wonderfully different flavor that will delight everyone. It’s a great alternative to the standard holiday offerings, or just something new to try – especially since it’s naturally gluten-free and low in processed sugar.
What kind of persimmons should you use?
Persimmons can be tricky. The two kinds are very different in how they can be used. Hachiyas are the oblong shaped ones that are meant to be eaten when very soft – almost like pudding in consistency. Whereas Fuyus are short, squat and best when crisp and firm – just like an apple.
Since this pie is more like a pumpkin pie and is made with persimmon puree, the best variety to use is the Hachiya. Wait for them to ripen and scoop the soft, juicy flesh right out before blending it into a smooth puree. But if you can’t find Hachiya persimmons, you technically can use Fuyus. You just have to let them get a little over ripe.
The crunchy Fuyu persimmons are typically best when still firm – you really can use them in anything you would use an apple or pear in – and the skin is edible. Usually I would use them in a salad with candied nuts, or maybe switch out the pears in this colorful beet salad. But if they are left out to ripen further, Fuyus will become soft and scoopable. Just not as juicy as the Hachiyas.
How to ripen persimmons
Chances are when you purchase your Hachiya persimmons, they are very hard, maybe even a little yellow still at the top. And if you were to try and eat one right now, pretty bitter. Hachiya persimmons are picked underripe and need time on the counter to ripen.
The easiest way to ripen persimmons is to leave them on the counter standing on the stem end. They make a colorful decoration that way too. To speed up the ripening process, you can put them in a paper bag with a ripe apple or a banana and leave it for a couple of days. Soon they will ripen and be ready to make pie with.
Once ripe, both varieties of persimmons should be stored in the fridge in a low moisture area. Fuyu persimmons can last about one week before they need to be eaten. Hachiya persimmons will typically last 3-4 days in the fridge after they have gotten soft.
If your Hachiya persimmons are all ripening at different times, or too many ripened at once, you can freeze the flesh for use later. Scoop the flesh out of the skin when the persimmon is soft and keep it in an airtight container in the freezer until you are ready to bake! It also means you can keep cooking with persimmons long after the season ends.
Healthy Persimmon Pie with Oatmeal Pecan Crust
For the crust:
- 5 oz. (140g) pitted dates
- 1 1/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/2 cup pecans , plus more for serving
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil , at room temperature
For the filling:
- 2 cups persimmon puree
- 2/3 cups coconut sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 4 eggs , at room temperature
- whipped cream , for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly grease a 9-inch (23-cm) pie dish. If your dates are firm, soak them in water for 30-60 minutes and drain before using.
- In a food processor,combine the oats, pecans, cinnamon, and salt and process until the mixture resembles crumbs. Add the dates and coconut oil and process again until the mixture sticks together when pressed with your fingers. If it’s too dry and crumbly, add a teaspoon of water at a time and process again.
- Press the crust mixture into a pie pan, pressing it up against the sides of the pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes on a cooling rack.
- Change the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C).
- In a bowl, whisk together the persimmon puree, coconut sugar, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, cardamom, nutmeg, half-and-half, and eggs.
- Pour the filling into the baked pie crust. Bake the pie for 20 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil, making sure that it doesn’t touch the filling. Continue baking for 25-30 minutes more, until the center is almost set and is just barely jiggly.
- Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool completely for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving.
- Serve with some whipped cream and chopped pecans on top.