Thanksgiving Day Starter: Persimmon Crostini with Chili Infused Honey
I have to admit that the Fuyu persimmon is a fall favorite of mine. Just when I start to miss all berries of summer they show up in their bright shinny orange with a muted green cowlick like leaf on top. They are subtly sweet and juicy with an unnamable yet wonderful spiced aftertaste. They are the main ingredient in my current go to snack; I add a chopped fuyu persimmon on top of plain Greek yogurt and top it with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.
The Fuyu is the flatish persimmon and eaten when firm. The other persimmon around now is the Hachiya which is pointed on the bottom and eaten only when mushy. I use the pulp of the hachiya for baking. Don’t confuse these and eat a Hachiya when it is firm or horrible tannic puckering things will happen to your tongue and mouth!
I am happy to announce that this month marks the start of the food holidays! I cant wait and I have already been planning and taste testing. First thing to come out of the kitchen in my preparations for Thanksgiving is a Persimmon Crostini. A simple crostini with formage blanc, fuyu persimmon and a pistachio topping. The crostini is layered with chili infused honey and drizzled with balsamic glaze. The combinations are amazing and go perfectly with my preferred starter beverage for any holiday event; Champagne.
Fuyu Persimmons. Choose bright orange firm fruits without discolorations or scars. In season now or Sept-Nov.
Baguette. Use your favorite baguette-seeds, no seeds, French, rustic, sour or not. Today I had a traditional French baguette…but I am leaning towards seeds for the main event.
Formage Blanc: Local cheese from Orland Farmstead Creamery-Orland, CA. This is a hand made cow milk cheese that is not only award winning but light and fluffy and easily spreadable with a ricotta like texture.
Pistachios. Roasted Salted or Raw they provide richness and that bright green color.
Blasamic Glaze. I get it in a bottle. A big thank you to Trader Joes for allowing me to remove the process of reducing balsamic vinegar to a glaze from my kitchen-it’s stinky!
Chili Infused Honey. I buy local Chico area honey at the farmers market. I use a medium amber color alfalfa honey for fall cooking and canning. For Chili Infused Honey I combine this with my magic chili flakes for a mildly spicy honey. Lucky for me, I have a chili friend who braves drying and blending (now with a mask on) her own cowhorn and cayenne chili mix. Chili flakes should be bright red in color and fragrant not dull or dry if so, buy some new stuff. You can also crumble up dried chilis from your garden and use them for infusing the honey -See Recipe. Chili infused honey is an amazing topping for many things including pizza, blue cheese apple crostini, and just chunks of pecorino with a glass of wine-try it you will be hooked. I make it in minutes but you can also purchase a jar.
Champagne: I chose a California sparkling wine from Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut (Costco). It is delicious, goes well with the fruit, it is balanced and not overly sweet and easy on the pocket book. Try other sparkling wines from Shramsberg, Roederer, Korbel or Mumm and keep it California grown this season!
- 1/2 fresh crusty baguette
- Olive oil
- Chili Infused Honey-Recipe follows
- 2 Fuyu Persimmons
- 8 oz container formage blanc
- 1/4 cup roasted salted pistachios, chopped
- Balsmic Glaze
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Slice baguette into 1/4-3/8" slices and place on cookie sheet. Brush sides with olive oil applying a thin layer to each slice. Bake in oven until slightly toasted and light brown.
- Remove skin from persimmons. Slice across into circles about 1/4" thick and remove any seeds. Slice circles in half again and set aside.
- When crostini's are cool drizzle with a teaspoon of chili infused honey. Add a slice of persimmon. Top with a heaping teaspoon size dollop of formage blanc. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and finish with chopped pistachios.
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4-1 teaspoon dried chili flake (my chili is part powder, skin and seeds-if yours has more skin and less powder increase the amount-think of it like ground coffee-finer=stronger)
- Combine honey and chili flakes in a heavy bottomed pot over the lowest heat. Stir constantly with a spatula and make sure honey is not sitting on the bottom of the pan-it scorches easily. The honey will thin quickly and will be warm and fragrant in 2-3 minutes. Pour warm honey through a mesh strainer to remove chili pieces and into a jar.
- This recipe easily doubles/triples/quadruples to serve more, and there should be enough chili honey left over for several other recipes.