***Every few years I re-post this recipe on my blog for all my new readers. I hope you enjoy! Oh, and make sure to read the comments for other ways to cook with these persimmons!
Each fall I look forward to a call from one of my former clients, letting me know it’s persimmon time!
Her very large and very old persimmon tree has been generous (to say the least) with its persimmons over the years. I always take several dozen to pass along to friends and neighbors, but make sure to keep some for myself, as well.
Not only are they beautiful to set out during the holidays, but they provide my family with a season’s worth of the yummiest cookies.
Most people don’t really know what to do with Hachiya persimmons, as their previous experiences usually involve biting into a firm one (thinking its the flatter Fuyu variety that you can just directly chomp into for a delicious snack) and suffering one of the worst, puckery mouth-moments of their lives!
But these persimmons are actually really wonderful to eat once they’re allowed to soften. In fact, the squishier they get, the better they are for baking.
My grandmother used to let them ripen until super soft, then put them in the freezer for about an hour. She’d take them out, cut off the top of the persimmon and scoop out the semi-frozen insides with a spoon.
Here’s a cookie recipe that’s been in my family for generations. (Warning: they’re addictive!)
Jo Ellen’s Persimmon Cookies
1 c. persimmon pulp (let the persimmon soften until really squishy then scoop out the pulp. Throw away any hard bits that might be in the pulp, like the core or any seeds)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. shortening
1/4 c. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg
2 c. flour
1 c. chopped walnuts
1 c. raisins
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. each cloves and nutmeg
1. Mix baking soda into the pulp & let sit for 5 minutes (kids like this part – wait 5 mins and you’ll see why!)
2. Using a mixer, cream together sugar, egg, shortening and butter
3. Add persimmon & baking soda mixture to the above and mix until creamy
4. Add in flour, spices, nuts and raisins and mix by hand. If you keep using a mixer at this point, the cookies tend to get too creamy.
5. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 375 for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned. Watch them carefully as they burn quickly!
6. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
7. Feel free to indulge the first day, as that’s when they’re the best!
** these are cake-like cookies and can seem a little dry after two days. Here’s a tip: just pop one in the microwave for 10 seconds and it’ll have the taste and texture of one that just came out of the oven. I often do this for any type of dense, bread-y cookie.