Apple Crostata & Lemon Ricotta Persimmons

Monday, December 9, 2013

Last week, Ash and I went on a walk/talk through my neighborhood since our husbands were both gone, and stopped at Yoshiko-san and Setouko-san's house, our favorite farmer neighbors I write so often about. They adore John Shea and any chance to hold him. Another of our Japanese farmer neighbors we love, Ikehara-san, walked by and I waved at him. I asked Yoshiko if she knew him. "Hai! Yes. He's my brother!" I had to laugh outloud. All this time, we had no idea they were family. So much gets lost in translation out here. I jokingly asked if their next door neighbors were family too. "Hai! Yes!" I pointed to three more houses around hers. All family. Turns out they all share that plot of land, and will one day all share a tomb. Cultural story for another day..!  One of the sweet 95 year-old ladies in our neighborhood walked by next. I asked Yoshiko if she too were family. "Hai! Yes! She is father!" Haha, what? "You mean mother?"  "No, she is father! You know?"  "Grandmother, maybe is what you mean?"  She started laughing and shaking her head. "My English not so good. No, she is father!! You know?!" She looked desperately at her husband with her pointer fingers side by side and said, "Grandmother, father. She is father! You know!?" Ash and I looked at each other, trying to understand what on earth she meant. We went on like this for probably ten more minutes, getting nowhere.
So finally, laughing hysterically, we all just left it at that. She is father.

Before we left their house, Yoshiko-san ran inside saying she had a gift. She sent us home with a bag full of apples and persimmons her sister had just brought back from mainland Japan.
I knew just what to make for her with some of them, as a thank you, both for her constant generosity, and for making me laugh so hard. 

Apple Crostata

1 1/2 C flour
pinch of fine sea salt
2 TBS raw sugar
1 1/2 sticks of butter {about 12 TBS}, cold & diced
3 TBS ice water
1 egg + dash of water

3 apples {I used Fuji and Golden}, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 TBS honey
1 TBS fresh squeezed lemon juice +zest
1 TBS fresh squeezed orange juice +zest
1/4 C raw sugar

Using a fork, combine the flour, salt & sugar in a bowl. You can also make the dough in a food processor. Combine the butter. The dough will become crumbly until adding in the ice water. Continue combining until the flour is absorbed. Form into a smooth ball. Cover the bowl in cellophane and place in the refrigerator for about an hour. On a floured surface, roll out the dough. It can be made into one 11 inch crostata or into multiple smaller ones. Using a spatula, transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

In a large bowl, combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, honey, lemon & orange juices. Add the apple slices and gently toss. Spoon the apple mixture into the center of the dough leaving a 1 1/2 inch border. Fold the dough on the edges of the apples and smooth any cracks. You can also lightly pleat the dough with your fingers to make a pretty border. Brush the beaten egg and dash of water mixture on the dough border to help it turn a golden brown while baking. Sprinkle raw sugar on the dough border. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Grate lemon and orange zest over the top.

Lemon Ricotta Persimmons

2 persimmons, roughly cut
3 TBS ricotta
1 TBS honey
1 TBS lemon juice
freshly grated lemon zest
1 small bunch of fresh mint

My friend Mere made something like this the other night and this is my attempt at recreating it! It's delicious! 

Combine the ricotta, honey and lemon juice. Scoop over the cut persimmons and grate lemon zest on top. Roughly chop or tear apart the fresh mint leaves.


  1. I just died in the giggles! She if father…who knew!!?!?!?!? hahahha!!! love you lady:)

    1. Ha. love you! we need to catch up!

  2. Oh I laughed so hard--I needed that. What a beautiful relationship you have with your neighbors :) And this looks delicious...!

    1. Thank you!
      they're really wonderful people...going to be hard to say goodbye!

  3. Yum! Thanks for some new winter dessert ideas, these look yummy!

  4. Beautiful pictures, beautiful story. I love when you share bits of your life with each recipe! If you ever figure out what she was actually trying to say, then please let us know!

    1. Thank you so much, Ragan! Haha, I will :)

  5. I loooove persimmons - I wish they were more popular here in the US! & I love the sound of those neighbors... they sound so precious and funny!

    1. I was actually wondering if you can get them in the States easily?

  6. love your neighbors!! I've never tried persimmons (i know, i can't believe it myself!) but this recipe is on my list and gives me a perfect reason to try them now!

    1. Yes, try them!! Theyre so yummy!

  7. Awww Mands. As much as you love your sweet neighbors -- I am sure they just ADORE your sweet smiling face!! What joy you bring to them - by engaging and talking with them. You three are such an example of what a military couple living abroad should be -- constantly wanting to learn about the culture and meeting new people!

  8. You never cease to amaze me. These are just beautiful photos my friend!
    Hugs from across the world:)


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