The Tale of the Persian Persimmon Pizza — D’oh!

6 persimmon pizza dough Persian food recipe Persianized7 persimmon pizza dough Persian food recipe Persianized

I preach boldness to myself, even so, I routinely shy away from many risks and adventures and even harmless culinary escapades like making bread or pizza dough because I feel intimidated. But a good many months ago I wanted to entertain and feed a little boy I adore who adores all things carb and bread and pizza and I was thus motivated to finally take the plunge to make a pizza from scratch to make him happy. (In a battle between intimidation and love, fear often whimpers away and goes poof!) I looked for a foolproof recipe and it was Suzanne’s very easy quick pizza dough recipe to the rescue which came out great, smelled quite good, felt wonderful to touch when handled (pliable, soft, stretchy) and made for a toothsome pizza (even though I burned it a bit) that was devoured with enthusiasm.

Learning how to make a homemade pizza is a delicious but dangerous skill. There are very many calories in a given slice and a given slice can be eaten in a lickety-split and yet your tummy goes right back to demanding: Gimme More you troll! So rather intentionally, I refrained from avidly exercising this new-found skill. At the same time, making dough is such a tactile pleasure and a plain pizza dough itself is a blank canvas primed to be personalized and beckoning customization with an endless versatility of taste and toppings and flavors and I’ve since positively yearned to make a series of so-to-speak-Persianized pizzas.

Dough beautiful dough

Dough, beautiful dough

The first Persianized pizza idea that popped into my head was to use persimmons. They are in season here in the U.S.; they are lovely to look at and to taste (although it took yours truly many years until I learned how to eat and enjoy persimmons); and they remind me of my childhood in Iran. I was beaming with confidence that a persimmon pizza topping was my very own singularly brilliant and novel idea but a “persimmon pizza” Google query quickly slapped me out of this notion and I snapped out of it.  (Extra credit & pizza toppings for you if you get the movie allusion, ha ha!)

I passionately disliked persimmons when I was a kid but am now rather enamored with these low cal, nutritious and very pretty fruits. Stars in my eyes!

I passionately disliked persimmons when I was a kid but I am now rather enamored with these low cal, nutritious and very pretty fruits. Stars in my eyes!

Refuting my unique genius, as mentioned, there are a good number of persimmon pizza recipes out there, and a conference of persimmons with goat cheese and basil seems to be the most popular combo for this type of pizza. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I went with the popular tried & true & praised triumvirate. And let me tell you: the flavor & texture combination of persimmon and goat cheese is heavenly. Heavenly! Both are soft and comforting in the best way, and one is delightfully pungent while the other is delectably sweet, and topped with the pizza bread they are yummy yummy yummy. And basil of course plays beautifully with persimmon and cheese and dough and brightens up the entire game.

If I make this pizza again, though, I’d like to experiment with a more melty type of cheese (the goat cheese softened but didn’t melt the way I was hoping it would; and I also think a sharper flavored cheese may work nicely as well) and also next time I won’t skimp on the dough (I halved mine and the result was a thin crust that turned crispy instead of pillowy.) This persimmon pizza I feel pays merely a lip-smacking service to Persianizing, so I will do better next time instead of taking the easy way out. A Twitter friend suggested berberry as a topping, which: love the idea! Very inspiring and plan to use it. The beauty of pizza is that it opens up wide the doors of experimenting with different tastes and textures and I definitely want and plan on making many different types of Persianized pizzas in the near future.

A couple of notes before moving on to the recipe:

  • When I say pizza, I really mean “pizza” & thus do not mean to in anyway co-opt and appropriate the real and authentic Italian pizza which is exceptional and incomparable.
  • Whenever I read or type the words “pizza pie” I invariably hear these lyrics playing in my head: ♪ When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie, that’s amore. ♫ For those of you in the know, these are lyrics of a Dean Martin song that opens and closes the film Moonstruck. If you are a fan of this movie like me, I have got to share this recent and awesome Flickr find of the actual brownstone where Cher lived in the movie Moonstruck. Corner of Cranberry & Willow, in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn. Isn’t that cool?

And now:  Pizza Pizza!

persimmon chevre basil pizza recipe c

Persimmon Pizza

Ingredients

For the quick pizza dough – adapted from original recipe here:

  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup tepid water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the pizza topping:

  • 5 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 ripe or semi-ripe persimmons, peeled, and sliced
  • a handful of fresh basil
  • a drizzle of olive oil

Direction

  1. In a large bowl add the warm water; sprinkle with yeast and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk oil and salt into the mixture. Add flour and stir until a sticky dough forms. With clean hands knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Sprinkle a bit more flour if the dough seems a little too moist or sticky.
  2. Transfer dough to a lightly-oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover bowl loosely with a plastic wrap or a tea towel and let sit in a warm draft-free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hour until the dough doubles in bulk.
  3. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line a pizza pan with parchment paper or aluminum paper.
  4. Remove dough from bowl and divide in half. Freeze one portion in a freezer bag (it keeps for up to months.) The other portion, transfer to a lightly floured work surface and gently knead a few times until it is smooth. Use fingers and heels of hands to shape the dough and stretch dough on your pizza pan.
  5. Lightly brush dough with olive oil. (This prevents dough from getting soggy from the toppings.) Add the persimmons and cheese. Bake until the crust is golden brown.

Serving

Just before serving, garnish with fresh basil leaves and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

2.

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48 thoughts on “The Tale of the Persian Persimmon Pizza — D’oh!

  1. Wow, what a great post. I love a persimmon pizza, never in a million years would have thought of that. It is your idea, doesn’t matter who did it before, you thought of it now so you own it. I agree about a more melty cheese, I think burrata would be wonderful. I love persimmons but have a terrible fear of unripened persimmon mouth, that horrible hairy, puckery mouth feel when you bite into one that is not sufficiently ripened. Your photo’s are incredible by the way. That pizza looks so good!

    • Suzanne, I was hoping you would suggest a cheese. I’ll try the burrata (I was also thinking maybe something like cheddar cheese???) …. re persimmons: totally hear you re that awful puckery taste, that’s what turned me off of them when I was a kid, but if you stick to the non-pointy types, they ripen quickly and even when not entirely ripened, they don’t have that puckery quality. Thank you re the photos and the pizza, I owe to you, so thank you! :)

      • I think a mild cheese maybe with herbs which us why I suggested burata persimmons have such a delicate flavor you don’t want to overpower. Cheddar might be nice yes.

  2. How delicious! And your photographs and story are just beautiful, as always! Happy cooking… and season’s eatings xo

  3. HIghlight and delete previously written comment. And quick about it. Suffice to say my culinary highlight in four weeks in the States was pumpkin pie.

    I love the sound of this dough as pizza should be thin and crisp, not pillowy as it is here in the UK. It’s inedible. Actually, Turkish pizza is as good as Italian. However, that slice of pizza I ate by a quiet canal in Venice was truly memorable (even if I don’t remember which type it was – not the point!). Now, which cheese to have with persimmons?? Non-astringent Spanish persimmons, that is. Will check the cheese counter when I hit the superstore on Monday.

    Loved the pirate ship, too!

      • Oh, I adore chevré! It is my gateway cheese, for sure. If we don’t have it in the home, it is a national emergency. Have you tried Humbolt Fog or Bucherondin? We are alike in this way – our love of the goat cheese. GREAT recipe and flavor combination. Best, Shanna

  4. I saw this and had to have it. Having decided to once again occasionally eat cheese, I was more than ready for this glorious idea. But, pneumonia is my excuse, so I cheated. Trader Joe’s bagged pizza dough rolled out, with an extra inch around. I sprinkled cinnamon, a wee bit of brown sugar and fairy touches of powdered cardamom around the diameter, then folded it over.
    I pulled apart pieces of Brie, added shredded parmagiano reggiano and because I’m a persimmonophile, used five ripeness tested and guaranteed persimmons, cut into slices. (Actually six, but one accidentally fell in my mouth.) Shut the front door! Bubbly melted, cardamomy, persimmon pizza manna from heaven.
    Thank you, Azita Joon-I’m over the moon-struck with your glorious ideas!
    Noosheejonemoon!

    • Oh I’m positively in raptures reading about the inspired tweaks you made to the recipe. Yvonne, no exaggeration: your recipe is genius and mouthwatering! Love the “perimmonophile” coinage (ha ha) as well. I only wish you’d taken a photo b/c I’d have totally posted it.

      Meanwhile, Yvonne joon, khasteh nabashi with exams and ALL else you do and also: pneumonia? Seriously??? Yikes. Rest and get well sooooon! xoxoxo

  5. I’ve avoided making pizza for years (not a good track record there), but your persimmon creation has inspired me to give it another try. I also am a recent convert to persimmons. No one else in my family likes them, so more for me! Oh, and last but not least, like everyone else here I love Moonstruck. :-)

    • Moonstruck is the best! :) And delighted to hear that you’re going to give this a whirl. Check out Yvonne’s recipe tweaks in the comments – she has made some very choice adjustments to the recipe that you may want to try in case you do make the pizza.

  6. Hi Azita! I applaud you for your bold creativity. I also am taking too long to warm up to persimmons. But I think your inspiration must have been the color combinations. Beautiful! Being Italian, I would brush the dough with a little olive oil to give it more color, while drizzling a little on top. I can imagine how wonderful the dry goat cheese tastes with the sweet (that’s the trick to becoming a fan) persimmon. Maybe lighten up the goat cheese with a little olive oil to help spread it. Then I always like fresh chopped tomato atop. But I am going to make this as an appetizer! Thanks for the push.

    • Tina, I really appreciate the tips re cheese and the dough. Will definitely put it to use with the next batch. And I’m psyched you will be trying this. BTW, another way to enjoy persimmons is use them in smoothies. Delicious! B/c I confess, while I now like them a lot as an ingredient, I still don’t really like them that much as straight-up fruit and sounds like you’re in the same boat. If you make the pizza: Noosheh jan in advance and DO send me a picture – will you? -azita

  7. I’ve never thought to cook persimmons… I do love them though, they’re so deliciously crunchy and resilient enough to put in the handbag when going out for a while! I’m definitely going to try this though. Sounds divine. LOVE that ‘stars in my eyes’ picture too… it was exactly what I thought when I looked at it! Haha. Love your artistic styling Azita. Wishing you and your family a beautiful holiday season! x

  8. - Sweet/fruits and salty/cheese go together well, like the Hawaiian pizza pineapple and cheese. :P I congratulate you finding the courage to bake!
    – My resolution for 2014 is ‘baking breads’, and yes, pizza included!
    The best ever piece of pizza I had was not in Italy but in New York! I want to realize that in my kitchen. I guarantee, you will love it! Stay tuned. :D
    – Azita jan, I wish you and yours the Happiest of the Holiday Season!

    • Hi Fae! It was precisely the Hawaiian pizza that made me think: why not persimmon? Here’s to you cooking up a delicious storm in your kitchen next year and sharing it with us, can’t wait. Happy Holidays dear Fae! :)

  9. Coming from the land of pizza, I applaud the audacity of opting for a rectangular shaped pie ;-) as well as how nice and yummy it looks like!
    Happy Holidays, dear Azita! :-)
    Stefano

    • It was not so much audacity Stefano as it is lack of skills to make it round! ha ha! Think of it as “pizza” not pizza! The taste is good though and like I mentioned in comment to Flora, maybe you can suggest a wine pairing? Actually, in all seriousness, what wine would you recommend to go with a fruit-topping type of pizza??

  10. Up until recently, I thought my father was the only person on earth to love persimmons. I have this childhood memory of him selecting the ripest and eating it with a little spoon. Lately I noticed that people love them and now your post and you telling me that persimmon pizza is all over the Internet! :-) :-) :-) It is too sweet for my taste but I love its shape and color and I can understand the deliciousness with the contrast with the cheese. :-)
    Happy Holidays, Azita! :-)

    • Dear Francesca, I was thinking of you today when I ordered my copy of Encyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights from Amazon! I’m so excited and can’t wait. I was going to tell you in a comment on your blog but since you so nicely delighted me by a visit to mine, I’ll tell you about it now.

      Re persimmons: again, smiling to read your comment, as easting persimmons with a spoon is also how people in Iran eat this fruit and my parents are quite partial and continue to do the same.

      The persimmon pizza does taste quite good (even when the dough is square and not round, ha ha, as Stefano observed) & perhaps Stefano can recommend a wine pairing?

      Happy Happy Holidays & much love! -a

  11. Beautiful photos and such an interesting combination of flavors, texture and color! I haven’t seen too many persimmons at my local markets this year, not sure why but if I do come across some, will have to try this delightful treat! Happy Holidays and thanks for sharing!

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