I’ve been intrigued with the persimmon fruit ever since I first read about them in an Oklahoma Centennial cookbook. Both persimmons and sand plums were once widely available in the Indian Territory during the turn of the century, but they’ve quickly fallen into obscurity. There’s a grove of trees near Lake Hefner where you can pick sand plums in the spring, but persimmons are a different story.
Those little orange, tomato-impostors are extremely hard to find.
It doesn’t help that they’re only in season for a short amount of time, and it’s near the end of fall—which is an odd season for a fruit. Thankfully, my wonderful grocery store, Crest, gets some in when they’re in season. They’re not the native Oklahoma kind; instead, we get the Japanese variety known as Fuyu. The two varieties are similar, but Fuyu’s are sweet even when they’re not overly-ripened. Oklahoma’s persimmons almost have to be fermenting for them to be ripe enough to eat!
If you are ever able to get your hands on this spectacular fruit, I highly recommend buying a bunch. They aren’t sickeningly sweet, instead their pulp tastes like honey. You can just scoop out the flesh and serve it with a bit of cream, make persimmon pudding (a favorite for persimmon lovers) or make this homey cookie recipe. The persimmon tastes amazing with spices like clove and cinnamon.
Persimmon Spice Cookies
A spice cookie bejeweled with persimmons, golden raisins, and pecans.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 cup persimmon pulp
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground clove
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add egg, baking soda, vanilla, and persimmon pulp. Continue to beat until mixture is mixed well (it will still be clumpy).
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Stir the dry ingredients into the persimmon mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the nuts and raisins and then chill dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Once dough is chilled, drop tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in airtight container.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut top half off of persimmon and then scoop out pulp with a spoon, discarding any seeds (the seeds are brown and flat, similar in shape to pumpkin seeds). Place pulp in a bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Add to persimmon mixture and mix until just combined. Add raisins and pecans and stir together. Chill dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop dough by the tablespoonful two inches apart on baking sheet. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before letting cool on a wire rack.