BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Plight of the Persimmon

30 Comments

Browning, bruised, and overlooked, the rare half-dozen persimmons nestled on the grocery store shelf hardly looked like winners. Though far from blameless, these overgrown orange berries don’t deserve the cold shoulder that consumers give, turning away to more common fare. Myself included, few understand the full culinary potential hidden within those mysterious fruits, and much of that stems from misunderstanding. Though I never did have the jarring experience of biting into an unripe Hachiya, an mistake sometimes likened to sampling industrial strength cleaner for all of its astringent, mouth-numbing properties, neither did I have the luck of eating a truly transcendent specimen. While some food writers waxed poetic about this oddball piece of produce, hundreds of recipes outnumbered those few, suggesting the least painful ways to bake and otherwise get rid of an unwanted surplus. So which was is: Pest or prize?

Last year, stumbling around one winter market in western Germany, I had the odd impulse to buy one. Smooth, plump, and as large as a softball, it seemed different from previous persimmons. Sporting an acorn-like point at the bottom, it was clearly an entirely different genus. A Fuyu, much firmer and easier to eat out of hand, provided my persimmon revelation. It was the best I had ever had, and still haven’t stumbled across one half as luscious since.

Much of the trouble centers around availability. Only Hachiya have appeared on shelves in my town, and by the time they arrive, it’s likely been weeks since they last saw sunshine. Though the wait allows them to fully ripen, it also gives them more time to be damaged or spoiled. Their flavor is subtle at best, sweet and vaguely floral, but now I understand why so many dessert recipes abound; While you’re searching high and low for that one perfect persimmon, here’s what to do with the rest of them.

When Hachiya persimmons are so ripe that their skin easily peels off and they practically puree themselves, that’s when you know they’re ready. Don’t rush your persimmons or they won’t be nearly sweet enough. Run them through your food processor briefly before use, just to smooth out the puree. Extra puree can be stored in an air-tight container in the freezer for up to 6 months. Should you have an overabundance of the goo, this small batch of soft, lightly spiced oatmeal cookies can be doubled, too.

Persimmon Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Whole Pastry Flour
1 Teaspoon 5-Spice Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 Tablespoon Whole Flaxseeds, Ground
3/4 Cup Persimmon Puree
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 Cup Toasted, Chopped Walnuts or Pecans

Icing:

1 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
2 Tablespoons Persimmon Puree

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a sheet pan with a silpat or piece of parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, 5-spice, baking powder, salt, and ground flaxseeds, mixing thoroughly to combine the dry goods. In a separate bowl, stir the persimmon puree, sugar, oil, and vanilla together until smooth. Pour the wet goods into the bowl of dry, mixing with a wide spatula just until the batter begins to come together, being careful not to overwork it. Add in the walnuts, folding to distribute them evenly throughout.

Use a medium cookie scoop or two large spoons to drop between 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of batter per cookie on the prepared sheet. Allow at least an inch of space between the cookies, to allow room for them to spread. Pat the mounds down with lightly moistened fingers if they’re particularly heaped up in the centers.

Bake for 11 – 14 minutes, until golden around the edges and just barely set in the centers. Remove the silpat from the hot baking sheet, and let the cookies cool completely before preparing the icing.

For the icing, simply whisk together the confectioner’s sugar and persimmon puree until smooth. Drizzle generously over the tops of the cookies, and let air-dry for at least 12 hours to achieve a hard finish. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Makes About 1 Dozen Cookies

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

30 thoughts on “Plight of the Persimmon

  1. Another great recipe! These look amazing:)

  2. love 5 spice with persimmons :)

  3. Sounds awesome! I need to tinker with Persimmons!!!

  4. Having a late breakfast of oatmeal, while reading your post. I have never tried a persimmon and bet that the puree and a dash of five-spice powder would make interesting additions to a bowl of oatmeal,as well as to cookies. Going to keep an eye out for them at the market.

  5. It’s like you’re in my kitchen! My dad just gave me all these persimmons over the holiday because he loves them and I’ve been eating a few here and there but there are still some left. Now I have a use for them…perfect! Also, do you know how to pronounce it? Is it per-simmons OR purse-uh-mens? Or something entirely different??

  6. Yum! This recipe looks so delish Hannah. Persimmons are tough for me as it is so hard to wait for them to fully ripen. They go so quickly from perfect to spoiled. though you remind me that it’s time to give them another try!

  7. I love love love persimmon & your story about them sort of looking less than stellar on the groc store shelves…I don’t think I’ve ever seen them look ‘pretty’ the way grapes, bananas, or just about any other produce looks all shiny and happy. But that’s actually good…b/c then I can raid the stash all for myself when they come into the market :) I mean, I love them!

  8. These cookies have me severely weakened towards them :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  9. Absolutely love persimmons – both Fuyu and Hachiya. Persimmons in cookie form sound pretty delicious too!

  10. I must sound crazy but I have never tried a persimmon before! The cookies look amazing though, I need to find me some persimmons!

  11. I discovered persimmons this fall/winter and love to eat them raw, the Fuyu kind, I’m scared to buy the Hachiya. Both for the horror stories I’ve heard of eating unripe ones as well at the way they look at the store. You’re right, the ones in my grocery looks banged up and bruised, some are even rotting and have grey fuzz on them…eeeww, no thanks!

    I’ve made oatmeal, bread and pancakes using persimmons as well, yum yum yum.

  12. This looks intriguing! I’ve only ever had the squat kind of persimmons, but I’ve never heard of pureeing them for cookies. Have you tried using stone fruits for purée for cookies too?

  13. I’ve had some hachiyas ripening on my counters for about two weeks now…so I feel your pain! The best I’ve ever had were in California..amazing. I love the sound of these cookies! As soon as those hachiyas are ripe I know what I’m doing with them!

  14. Persimmon Pudding was a seasonal favorite in my family as I was growing up. It was made using American Persimmons common in the South. I have never seen these smaller persimmons in the grocery stores where I live, but I’ve tried using the larger Japanese persimmons in Persimmon Pudding and all the varieties I have tried so far have worked just fine, though the flavor and color vaires. Recently I have come across several persimmon recipes on blogs and have been intrigued by all of the sweet and savory uses for persimmons, including persimmon salsa and persimmon granola. It is a much more versitile fruit than I ever imagined. I’m adding your cookie recipe to my list of recipes to try as I enjoy my personal quest to learn more about persimmons. Interestingly, it never occured to me to eat them raw.

    • This is a treasure trove of information! I never considered using persimmons in salsa- That’s downright brilliant. Thank you so much for sharing. It looks like I’ll have to pick up another batch to keep on experimenting.

  15. An additional note… Traditional persimmon pudding is full of dairy products but many vegan persimmon pudding recipes are avaialble out there on vegan food blogs if people want to give it a try.

  16. I never thought in having persimmon in cookies, especially oatmeal cookies…and after reading your post I can imagine how delicious these cookies must be.
    Happy 2013 and have a great week Hannah!

  17. I love all types of cookies, and this recipe seems tasty

  18. This is such a great recipe- I love how you spiced the cookies with 5 spice (amazing) then put persimmon in the icing. Cookies with icing are always so much better and this icing is extra special!

    I think my favourite part though is how comforting they look- that golden brown colour is just so inviting!

  19. Yum, 5 spice and persimmon. I’m lucky enough to get good looking persimmons at the farmers market out here in sunny California. Although I’ve forgotten that Hachiyas need to be totally ripe before eating. I should probably just stick to the Fuyu ones. :-)

  20. I just had persimmon this year for the first time! It was delicious…flavor-wise, it sort of reminded me of a cross between mango and pear. Very unique! These cookies sound delicious!

  21. I love those beautiful persimmons, especially the fuyus when they are still crunchy like an apple.

  22. I love using persimmons in oatmeal cookies! Or rather, baking in general. But, I mostly have fuyu persimmons over here (not mad at that!), I enjoy both of them. The icing on these cookies really make them stand out and extra mouth-watering. :)

  23. I am just sitting here and wondering why I never thought of adding persimmon to cookies!

  24. Hannah these cookies look delightful. Here in Asia persimmons are plentiful so looking forward to giving this one a try. Did you move back from a self hosted site back to a wordpress site? Can we touch base off site? Take care, BAM

  25. Persimmons aren’t in season. Do you think I could use another fruit? Maybe peaches or mangos

    • Persimmon pulp is slightly more watery than peach or mango puree, but perhaps if you were to incorporate an additional tablespoon or so of water into the batter, then you’d be on to something! Let me know if you do try, since it sound delicious.

  26. Pingback: Vegan Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies Throwdown | The Dairy Free Traveler

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