Make a Basil-Infused Persimmon Pie

http://www.motherearthliving.com/Food-Matters/basil-infused-persimmon-pie.aspx

SiljaSilja is an herbal witch who grew up in rural Ireland, where her mum had an herb garden and taught Silja about herbalism and foraging for Mother Nature's bounty. As a witch, she has led a Celtic training coven in Ireland, but now lives in the U.S. with her husband and three kids in Arkansas. Silja is the author of The Green Wiccan Herbal. 

Take charge of the pie selection this holiday season with this herbal twist on a classic persimmon pie.

10-15-2010-1
Photo by Silja

Basil-Infused Persimmon Pie 

• 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil, fresh or frozen (Don't use dried. I like to use Thai basil when I can find it, but plain works, too.)
• 2 cups condensed milk
• 1 1/2 cups persimmon pulp (I like to use raw, foraged fruit that has fallen; it's the most flavourful! Just squish it and remove the seeds by hand. That takes a while though!)
• 2 small eggs
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1/3 cup melted butter
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 9-inch pastry case or 12 small cases (I like to use graham crust although I am sure other doughs would work. If you make it yourself, add a teaspoon of chopped basil to the crust for extra flavor.)

1. Chop basil and add to condensed milk.

2. Set aside and allow it to infuse while you prepare the persimmon pulp. (If you're using prepared persimmon pulp, let your basil and milk infuse for 30 minutes minimum.)

3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine eggs, cinnamon, sugar and salt and whisk well. Add remaining ingredients (except for the pastry case) and mix. Pour into pastry case.

4. Bake for ten minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes. The top of the pies will brown. Poke a toothpick through the center of the pie; your pie is ready when the toothpick comes out clean.

5. Add a fresh basil leaf on top for decoration!

Variations:

+ Add a lattice of honey on top of the pie about halfway through cooking for extra sweetness and a pretty pattern.
+ Replace lemon juice with cranberry or orange juice for a subtly different flavor.
+ Replace 1/2 a cup of persimmon with stewed pumpkin or canned peaches in small chunks for an autumnal flavor and a different texture.
+ Add a heaped teaspoon of white chocolate drops for a sweet twist.