Fall in Southern Oregon brings a bounty of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Yesterday, when I stopped at one of my favorite produce stands, I found some gorgeous hachiya persimmons. Hachiya persimmons are fist sized heart shaped fruits that have a beautiful deep orange color. You have to know that in my opinion, persimmons don’t get a lot of credit and are often overlooked by those who don’t know what they are or how to use them.
Hachiya persimmons must be fully ripened before you consume them. With this fruit, fully ripe means seriously mushy. Whenever I get a bunch of unripe persimmons, I prefer to set them on the kitchen counter and use them as they ripen naturally or as I just learned today, toss the unripe persimmons in the freezer and use them the very next day. I obtained that helpful hint from an elderly produce man who obviously spent his entire career working with fruits and vegetables. Pretty smart eh?
My recipe for Persimmon Cookies was handed down to me from my Aunt Eunice. I gotta tell you, Eunice was such a character. She never learned to drive a car, loved to wear bright pumpkin colored lipstick, and walked everywhere she needed to go. As long as I knew her she always had an orange cat and no matter how many cats she had, the cat was always named Lucky. She had at least 3 cats named Lucky that I knew of in my lifetime…
Aunt Eunice’s original persimmon cookie recipe included 1 cup of raisins and 1 up of walnuts. However, I changed up the recipe a bit, eliminated the raisins and walnuts, and added sweet dried Oregon cranberries. I never did care for raisins and I am unfortunately allergic to the walnuts. Add them if you like, especially if you want to get the flavor of the original recipe.
If you have access to hachiya persimmons, without a doubt you gotta make these cookies. They are moist, cakey and have a wonderful spiciness to them. Thank you Aunt Eunice! Enjoy! Tessa
- 1 cup persimmon pulp or puree
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- or omit the cranberries and add 1 cup each of raisins and walnuts for the taste of the original recipe.
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl cream together the persimmon pulp, sugar, egg and shortening. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Add the vanilla extract and cranberries until well blended. Drop by teaspoon or using a small cookie scoop on a silicone lined or greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Remove from cookie sheet and let cool on a wire rack. Store tightly covered. Makes 3 dozen cookies.