DRIED PERSIMMON (or Apricot) & PUMPKIN SEED COOKIES

Dried Persimmon (or Apricot) & Pumpkin Seed Cookies

The double sweetener addition, in this case brown sugar and honey, is the key to a perfect cookie crumb. The dried fruit and seed component of these cookies can be devised from any combination that tickles your fancy. Toasted hazelnuts are also a favoured addition, and a little chopped chocolate doesn't go amiss – insert eye wink emoji – I have added an option in the recipe for this allowance.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup (50g) pumpkin seeds
  • 100 g room temperature butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 cup white flour*
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup (50g) chopped dried persimmon or apricot
  • 50 g chopped dark chocolate - optional
  • * I also make these with gluten-free flour using ½ cup rice flour, ¼ cup buckwheat flour and ¼ cup tapioca flour (or use gluten-free flour mix)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a cookie tray with baking paper.
  • First, toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan until golden. Tip on to a plate to cool.
  • Place the butter, sugar and honey into a food processor or mixer and blend until creamy. Add the egg and combine. Add flour, baking powder, mixed spice and salt, and briefly mix. Add the toasted pumpkin seeds, dried fruit and optional addition of chocolate. Pulse until the mixture just holds together.
  • Roll the mixture into 12 walnut-sized balls and arrange, evenly spaced, on the tray. If the mixture is very soft (this may be the case if using gluten-free flour), place in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes to firm up. Gently press the balls to flatten a little. Bake for 12 minutes. Use a spatula to carefully transfer to a cooling rack.
  • The cookies will keep for five days in an airtight container.

Autumn is my favourite season. That is mostly due to the produce selection. And it is persimmon that I favour most of autumn fruit. Their almost tropical flavour is a lovely surprise for a fruit grown in our temperate New Zealand climate.

Some years ago we made the difficult decision to remove a persimmon tree from the backyard. This may seem odd considering my aforementioned admission. But it came down to position. The tree had been planted, by a previous owner, smack bang in the middle of the lawn. Although a beautiful tree, especially in autumn when the leaves turn an exquisite burnt orange, the positioning limited our options for prime garden space.

The fated persimmon was also an astringent variety. Eaten by mistake when firm, your mouth feels like it is lined with small feathers. For suitable eating astringent persimmon must be left until jelly-like and eaten in a similar fashion with a spoon. I have a preference for non-astringent persimmon that can be eaten crisp like an apple or pear (preferably peeled first).

Astringent persimmon can be used to make Hoshigaki or Japanese-style dried persimmons. Last autumn, I made them for the first time, and I was raving about them for months.

They do take some effort – first whole persimmons are peeled leaving the stems intact. They are then threaded with twine and hung in a warm ventilated spot for a month or so until dried. But here is the catch – the true labour of love part – each persimmon requires gentle massaging several times a week to bring the sugars to the surface.

If you get this far, the reward is great. Imagine dried apricot crossed with papaya. If you have access to astringent persimmon, and time on your hands, give Hoshigaki a go, you won’t be sorry. I made them last season following the instructions in the beautiful book Grown & Gathered by Matt & Lentil. This online tutorial is similar to the process I followed.

*Recipe first published 23rd May 2018 on Stuff.co.nz.

A little house-keeping:

P.S. A little house-keeping today as it seems important this last week with the new GDPR regulations for the European Union to acknowledge the ways we protect website users privacy. You can read my updated privacy policy for this website here.

In a nutshell – any personal information shared as a comment or email subscription is treated carefully using WordPress.org (website CMS) and secure email sending platform (MailerLite). I respect users privacy at all times.

Thank-you for joining me on my Homegrown journey, and please email if you have any questions. Warmly, Nicola

Join the Conversation

  1. Sophie Johnston says:

    I would love to try making them (ever since reading about it in that exact book) but haven’t been able to find astringent persimmons!

    Is your 1c white flour about 150g?

    1. There are a few stalls at the Nelson Market who sell astringent, you do need to search them down as they are not a favourite it seems.
      Yes, correct, 1 cup = 150g 🙂

  2. Would coconut sugar work instead of brown sugar? Haven’t got any at home.

    1. Hi Max, absolutely, any dark sugar will be work in the cookies. Enjoy!

  3. Emily Shanks says:

    Hi Nicola, Can coconut oil replace butter? If so, do I use the same amount? Thanks so much for your help

    1. Hi Emily, coconut oil will work just fine in place of butter. The same quantity. I haven’t tested with this recipe but have made this substitution in a similar cookie recipe. Happy baking!

  4. Fran Broad says:

    Hi Nicola, we have masses of Fuyu persimmons this year, not astringent ones, delicious eaten either slightly crispy or left to soften. Would these ones dry successfully do you think? I have a dehydrator or presumably could slice them and dry in the oven? What would you recommend as the best way to preserve them for future use as we can’t really eat them all fresh!! Love the idea of having them dried like apricots 🙂 Thanks

    1. Hi Fran, I did try drying several Fuyu non-astringent just to see and my attempts were not successful 🙁 You could have a search online to see if anyone has had success as there may be a different technique required. Otherwise, sliced or cut into wedges then dehydrated are also delicious. Thin slices will dry faster if using an oven (at 50C) otherwise cut thicker slices for the dehydrator if you want them more chewy like dried apricots.
      Enjoy!

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