Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Have you ever bitten into a persimmon that pretty much ruined your day? It takes forever to wash out that bitter ash-flavored, pinkish-orange toothpaste that turns your tongue grey. It wasn't because you picked the wrong kind. It wasn't because your friend pulled a prank on you. No, no, don't blame it on the persimmon, either. And most importantly, don't throw it away!
By the way, did the persimmon have a pointy bottom?
The most two common types of persimmons you see in the stores around this time of the year are called Fuyu and Hachiya. Fuyu is the one that's shaped like a fat tomato and you can stack them on top of each other. Hachiya is the kind that's shaped like a giant acorn without the Beret and it sits on the table only upside down. Hachiya is also known as astringent persimmon; because it's packed with tannins, it can make your mouth dry instantaneously when it's not quite ripen. Go ahead and try it if you haven't already. Or if you're not so brave and a little sadistic, give it to your friends. If you want to eat it fresh, wait until it becomes very soft, I mean really soft to the point where you can squish it with just a finger.
But if you got an astringent persimmon already with teeth marks, you don't have to wait for three days to ripen. You can cook it or bake it into something, something more innocent like cookies. You might still detect a little bit of tannins, but it's not even to the level of some red wines. These cookies have just the right amount of sweetness. (If you haven't read my other baking posts, I don't enjoy overly sweet things, so my recipes usually use less sugar than typical recipes.) If you find it not sweet enough for your tastes, try whipping some cream cheese, cinnamon and sugar and spread a thin layer over these cookies. It not only gives a tiny bit more sugar, it adds creaminess and a cinnamony taste to the cookies. Yes, it's wonderful. So while you don't have to suffer first-hand to find out what astringent tastes like, these cookies are a must, and involve zero effort and pain.
Ingredients (makes about 2 dozen):
2 med Hachiya persimmon
2 Tbsp sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1/4c + 2 Tbsp sugar
1 3/4 c AP flour
Wash and peel Hachiya persimmons. Chop them into bite size pieces and remove the pits. Put them in a bowl and mix in 2Tbsp of sugar. Cover the bowl and cook them in microwave for about 5 minutes or until very soft and watery. Mash the persimmons and let it cool at room tempetature.
Combine 1 stick of butter and 1/4c + 2 Tbsp of sugar in a large bowl. Cream the butter & sugar mixture until light and fluffy. Add flour and mix until combined. Add cooked persimmon into the dough and mix until well blended. Wrap the dough with a plastic and let it rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lightly four the working surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/8" thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and transfer onto the baking sheet, leaving about 1" apart. Bake cookies until they are golden brown, about 7-8 min. Remove from the oven and let them cool on a rack.