I was only introduced to the persimmon a few years ago by my mom…evidence of its absence in my earlier years is the fact that I don’t know the Chinese translation (a weird benchmark, I know). Now, it usually makes it into my grocery basket, especially when it’s available in abundance at the supermarket like it is now.
After a bit of Googling and Wiki-ing, I learned that there’s more than one kind of persimmon! The most common is the Fuyu, the squat one you normally eat on its own. The slightly larger and pointed cousin to the Fuyu is the Hachiya variety. It’s best used in baking, but only after it’s had time to soften and ripen. Uh…baking? Sign me up!!
Persimmon cookies it was, care of the blog Pinch My Salt. I was a bit impatient with the persimmons, so while they were soft to the touch, they weren’t as ripe as could be. No matter, the cookies turned out great! Straight out of the oven, the cookies had a mild flavour with a bit of crunch on the outside. By the second day, the outer skin had softened, but the flavour had really developed and packed a nice warm spicy punch.
A cookie scoop would have been better to use, as it would have given me a smoother texture, but a tablespoon worked just fine…gives the cookie character :)
On a side note, I noticed this picture on the Wiki site for persimmons. Turns out I havebeen introduced to this fruit before, but in its dried version! They don’t look anything alike – how was I supposed to know?!
Adapted from Pinch My Salt
1/2 cup shortening*
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup persimmon pulp (~1 hachiya persimmon, stem removed, skin can be left on)
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins**
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, salt and spices; set aside.
In a separate bowl, cream the shortening with the sugar using a hand mixer. Beat in egg then beat in persimmon pulp. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until everything is combined. By hand, stir in the nuts and raisins.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. They can be placed close together because these cookies don’t spread much.
Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for five minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: approximately 36 small cookies
* I’ll try replacing with a combo of butter + applesauce next time
** I didn’t have any raisins on hand the first time, so the pictures don’t have them. Had them the second time I baked this cookie, and it definitely adds a touch of sweetness.