Fall is the season for persimmons, and with persimmons you can make the most wonderful persimmon cookies!
These persimmon cookies are cake-y and filled with walnuts and dried sweetened cranberries. I've topped them with a sugar glaze that includes persimmon purée and tangy orange zest.
What type of persimmon are the best to use for making cookies? While wild native persimmons grow throughout the midwestern states, commercial persimmons come in two Japanese varieties—Fuyu and Hachiya—with very different properties.
The Difference Between Fuyu and Hachiya Persimmons
Fuyu persimmons are short and squat. You eat them like apples, peeling them and slicing them. They are meant to be firm.
Hachiya persimmons (those pictured here are hachiya) are shaped a little like an acorn, and are larger than the shorter, squat Fuyu persimmons. Hachiya persimmons need to be completely ripe before you can eat them. Unripe hachiyas are extremely astringent and will make your mouth pucker if you try to eat them.
When a hachiya persimmon is completely ripe, it's squishy, like an overripe tomato, and its insides are more liquid-y than pudding. That's when the persimmon is ready to eat! Cut it open from the top and use a spoon to scoop out the sweet pulp inside.
How to Make Persimmon Purée
For this persimmon cookie recipe (and for many baked goods using persimmons) you will need persimmon pulp. You can use either ripe hachiya persimmons or fuyu persimmons, but hachiya are the best variety to use for pulp, because they get so soft.
For hachiya persimmons you'll want to scoop out the pulp with a spoon, discard any seeds and peel, and pulse the pulp with a food processor or blender to make it smooth. (Note that if a hachiya persimmon isn't completely ripe, it will be too astringent to eat, so make sure your persimmons are squishy soft!)
For Fuyu persimmons, you'll want to use very ripe (no longer crunchy) persimmons. Peel them, chop them, remove any seeds, and process the chopped persimmons in a food processor.
Freezing Persimmon Pulp
Can you freeze persimmon pulp? Yes! In fact freezing the pulp is a great way to save the purée for making cookies all year long. Just portion out 1 cup measures of pulp into freezer bags, and lay flat in the freezer to freeze.
Photos and recipe updated December 7, 2017, first published 2005.
Baking With Native Persimmons
There's a third type of persimmon you may run across if you are lucky: Diospyros virginiana, or American persimmons. These persimmon trees are native to North American forests in the Midwest and Appalachia, where they often grow stories tall. Their fruits are much smaller than species grown commercially, sized somewhere between a date and a gold ball.
It's best to gather them after they fall from the tree, a sign of their ripeness (if you pick a native persimmon and it's even slightly firm, you'll have quite an unpleasant pucker in your future). Get to them quickly, as woodland critters love them and the squishy fruit are easily damaged.
Rinse them well to free them of dirt, then use your hands to pluck out the pulp-covered seeds. The skins on these persimmons are so thin there's no need to peel them. Just take the seed-free pulp and puree it. For a pleasant textural variation in these cookies, you can opt to use unpureed native persimmon pulp, as it breaks down yieldingly in the dough.
If using a hachiya persimmon, it should be very ripe and completely soft to the touch. Use a spoon to scoop out the pulp. Discard any seeds that might be there. Each hachiya persimmon should yield anywhere from 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of pulp.
This recipe also works with the seeded pulp of native American persimmons (Diospyros virginiana). If using native persimmons, there's no need to remove the skins.
For the cookies:
1 cup very ripe persimmon pulp
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (dark or light)
1 stick (117 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 cups (270g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped dried cranberries, raisins, or dates
For the glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon persimmon puree
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Puree the persimmon pulp and add the baking soda:
Using a blender, food processor, or mini chopper, purée the ripe persimmon pulp until smooth. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
Beat the wet ingredients:
Beat together the butter and sugars in a large bowl. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix in the persimmon purée and orange zest.
Combine the dry ingredients:
In a separate bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt.
Mix and chill the dough:
Add dry ingredients to persimmon mixture a third at a time, stirring just until flour is incorporated. Stir in nuts and dried fruit.
Chill the dough for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Drop cookie dough rounds (about 1 1/2 inches across for a yield of 2 dozen large cookies) on stick-free cookie sheets, leaving at least 1 inch between the cookies.
Bake until cookies are browned around the edges and spring back when lightly touched in center, 15-18 minutes. Let cool on baking racks before frosting.
Make the glaze:
While the cookies are cooling sift confectioner's sugar and then whisk with 2 tablespoons of orange juice until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of persimmon puree and 1 teaspoon of orange zest and mix until smooth. If the glaze is too thick to be spoonable, whisk in a little more orange juice.
Dip a spoon into glaze mixture and dribble over cookies. Let harden before serving.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 8g||10%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||14%|
|Total Carbohydrate 34g||12%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||5%|
|Total Sugars 23g|
|Vitamin C 2mg||9%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|