About this recipe:A spicy-sweet, melt-in-the-mouth, no-guilt treat! Sharon fruit is a honey-tasting variant of persimmon which is in season in late autumn through early winter. If you're unfamiliar with Sharon Fruit, see the tips at the bottom. This nut pastry crust is perfect for almost any type of fruit pie, pumpkin pie, or even a cheesecake.
65g finely chopped pecans (plus additional whole nuts for decoration)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
For the pie filling
3 Sharon fruit (will yield approx. 375g when pureed)
2 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons runny honey
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
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Method Prep:30min › Cook:30min › Ready in:1hr
Preheat oven to 190 C / 170 C Fan / Gas 5. You will need a deep-sided, round, loose-based pie or flan tin around 5.5cm deep and 24cm in diameter. No need to grease, flour or line the tin.
Mix the pie pastry crust ingredients together in a bowl with a fork until fully moistened and combined. Press the mixture into the tin with your hands, ensuring the crust goes at least 2/3 up the sides. Use your knuckles around the bottom edge to ensure it isn't too thick there. Prick the bottom and sides all over lightly with a fork (it will puff up if you don't), and bake in the oven for 15 - 18 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
While the pastry crust is baking, prepare the Sharon fruit (see tips below), and puree in a food processor or in a bowl with an immersion blender. Add all of the remaining filling ingredients except the egg whites and whizz together until frothy and fully combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, starting at low speed and gradually increasing to high speed. Using a spatula, fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the fruit mixture to loosen. Add the rest of the egg whites and fold gently until no white lumps or streaks remain.
Pour the filling on top of the crust, and smooth the top with a spatula. Lay out the reserved pecans around the edge, using 1 or 2 to mark each serving.
Bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven. Turn the pie dish to ensure even baking, then turn the oven down to 170 C / 150 C Fan / Gas 3 and bake for a further 15 minutes. It should be golden brown, with the visible edging of the pastry crust not too dark.
Remove the pie from the oven to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes, before removing the sides. (I sit the pie dish on a stack of tuna cans, which is small enough and tall enough to allow the side to drop cleanly.) Let the pie cool completely before sliding it off the pie tin base; serve.
Tips for preparing Sharon fruit:
Scrub each fruit well under running water. Pull off the ‘flower’ around the top, then slice each fruit in half lengthwise. Make a V-cut and remove any hard white centre core from each half, similar to removing the white core from a tomato. (Riper fruits may not have any hard core at all.) Sharon fruit peel is edible; when very ripe, the peel is quite thin, similar to apples or pears. In less ripe fruit it will be thicker – in which case you want to peel it, or rub the flesh off it, so you don’t have hard lumps in your finished pie.