Jill Fergus

I began cooking as a child and feeding family and friends has always been my passion. My kitchen is a busy one. I love to experiment and embrace the kitchen successes along with the accidents. I love to cook and collaborate with friends. I am seasonally driven (I love the farmer's market!), avoid processed foods and focus on whole and organic (mostly plant-based, but not exclusively) choices. In my home, my family has a variety of eating preferences from plant-based, gluten free, refined sugar free to full on omnivore. My goal is to create dishes to please all, either as is or with minor adjustments to the recipe. Where did "Feed the Swimmers" come from? When my kids began swimming competitively and growing into young adults, I realized, even more, how important nutrition is to performance, growth and overall health and emotional well being. Everyone (including the coach during travel meets) would ask "what are you feeding the swimmers?" This has become my mantra whenever I'm in my kitchen cooking for family and the friends I love.



Apple and Persimmon Pie with Bourbon Caramel and Hazelnuts

Apple and Persimmon Pie with Bourbon Caramel and Hazelnuts

Pie. These three letters create a magical little word that only spreads happiness. Whether traditional, nostalgic or wildly creative these simply aim to please. A talented group of bloggers and bakers are all posting with #piesquadgoals (check out list at the end of this post)! I had a few inventive flavor combinations to play with (including a riff on my grandmother’s chocolate graham cracker pudding pie) but I kept coming back to a fruit salad I recently threw together of apple and persimmon. So here you go! I combined the two and added a comfortable dose of bourbon caramel, because why not? 

I made this two ways- one with a gluten free buckwheat crust (adapted from the Alternative Baker by Alanna Taylor Tobin) and one with a traditional crust (all butter recipe from Four and Twenty Blackbirds is a favorite). This pie slices beautifully with its pretty layering of fresh fruit. Scroll to the end of the post for an image of a baked slice!

Apple and Persimmon Pie with Bourbon Caramel and Hazelnuts



for the crust (this crust yields good results and tastes great with all of these delicious flavors, but it isn’t the easiest to work with, be patient and trust your instincts)

1/4 cup ice water

1/4 cup cold buttermilk

1/2 c (80g) sweet rice flour  

1/4 c (30g) gf oat flour

1/4 c (40g) buckwheat flour

1/4 cup (30g) cornstarch or arrowroot  

3 Tbs (20g) tapioca flour

1 Tbs xanthan gum  

2 1/2 Tbs (15g) ground chia seeds

2 Tbs (24g) cane sugar  

1/2 tsp salt

8 Tbs cold unsalted butter, cubed


for the filling- 

6 apples thinly sliced

3-4 persimmon (fuyu), thinly sliced  

2 Tbs tapioca flour

juice of half a lemon

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts  


for the caramel- 

1 cup cane sugar

2 Tbs maple syrup

3/4 c heavy cream

2 Tbs butter

2 Tbs bourbon  

 For finishing-
1 small egg lightly beaten 

2 Tbs cane sugar

1 Tbs butter divided into small pieces

(This recipe will make more caramel than you need for this pie. I’m assuming you won’t mind having extra caramel on hand.) 



Make the crust... 

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and cut in butter with a pastry blender until texture resembles gravel allowing for some almond size chunks of butter. Combine ice water with buttermilk and add to bowl 1 Tbs at a time while mixing with a wooden spoon. You will likely NOT need all of the liquid. Add just enough so that the dough sticks together when squeezed (you don’t want a wet dough). Turn out on a (gf) floured surface (tapioca or oat flour work well) and gently need until dough comes together allowing for visible butter chunks. Wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. 

Roll out dough to a large round. This is easiest to do between two sheets of floured parchment as this is less pliable than traditional dough and can be tricky to work with.  

Ease dough onto a 9” pie plate and allow for a 1” overhang (reserve scraps). Carefully fold the overhang under itself and crimp as you like. With a fork, prick the bottom all over. Chill for 30 minutes.  

Parbake the crust- preheat oven to 400F, line crust with a sheet of parchment and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes  carefully remove parchment (it may stick a little), patch any breaks with leftover dough and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. 

Make the caramel- 

Heat sugar in a medium saucepan with maple syrup. Stir constantly with wooden spoon.

sugar will clump then begin to melt. When fully melted, allow it to turn into a deep amber being careful not to burn. Remove from heat. Immediately add the butter and whisk. Combine cream and bourbon and slowly drizzle into sugar mixture while whisking. Be careful of splattering. Return to medium heat and bring to a simmer for a minute or two. Allow to cool.

make the filling- 

Combine apple slices in a bowl and toss with tapioca flour and lemon juice. Place persimmon slices in a separate bowl as they may be fragile.

Fill bottom half of crust with a little more than half of the apple slices. Layer the persimmon slices and  and sprinkle in chopped hazelnuts. Spoon on a thin layer of caramel (I just used a few spoon fulls. Save leftover caramel for another treat. Refrigerate. It will keep for about two weeks). and finish with remaining apple slices. You may great as many layers as you like  the colors bake up beautiful (bakes and sliced image at end of post).

Preheat oven to 375F. Brush crust with egg wash, sprinkle remaining sugar and sit with butter. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes. I love that the apple does not cook down to a soft consistency in this pie and allows the bright fresh quality of a seasonal apple to shine through. If you prefer softer apples, bake a little longer.




Same pie, traditional crust. If gluten free is NOT a requirement, this version (though I do love the flavor of the buckwheat crust paired with the sweet fruit, caramel and hazelnuts) is a bit simpler. Use your favorite pie dough recipe. I love the one from Four and Twenty Blackbirds, all butter crust.

For more #piesquadgoals and amazing recipes, please visit the blogs below for more delicious inspiration! 

Cloudy Kitchen

Chocolate Cream pie with whipped peanut butter cream


Cook Til Delicious

Pear Cranberry Frangipane Tart


Five-Spice Cran-Apple Handpies


The Farmer's Daughter

Apple Ginger Pie


Feed The Swimmers

Apple and Persimmon Pie with Bourbon Caramel and Hazelnuts


Harvest and Honey

Apple Apple Pies

Lyndsey Eden

Maple Cream Cheese Pear & Pistachio Galette


Tarta Tine with White Chocolate Caramelized Pears


TermiNatetor Kitchen

Brown Butter Chai Pumpkin Pie with Sugared Sage

Topless Baker

Apple & Blackberry Flower Lattice Pie


Up Close & Tasty

Chocolate Mousse Pie with Oreo Crust

The Wood and Spoon

Chocolate Chess Pie



Roasted Pear Butter with Maple and Bourbon

Roasted Pear Butter with Maple and Bourbon

Pumpkin not a Cheesecake Tart

Pumpkin not a Cheesecake Tart