This month’s Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free challenge was Valentine’s day with a twist, aka love potions and charmed foods, which was a little annoying as I had a pink (well pink and white) recipe all lined up and ready to go. However, this forced me to think a little about what I could make to fit in with the theme and I eventually plumped for something with persimmon in it. An odd choice, you may wonder, but this is a fruit I have never eaten before, never even seen (or at least not noticed before) and thus it is pretty magical to me. It’s also in season in wintertime and, more importantly for this challenge, has a variety of dietary and health properties, some fairly straightforward and logical and some verging on the magical. Whilst its reputed gastrointestinal powers interested me only mildly, it was the assertion that persimmons can cure hiccups that really intrigued me. As someone who suffers more than their fare share of hiccup attacks, I was very eager to test out this property, but alas, for once the hiccups were not forthcoming.
It took me a little while to track down a persimmon, and once I did, an inordinate amount of Googling to discover what sort of persimmon I had in my possession, and thus how it should be eaten. I had apparently acquired an astringent variety that needed to ripen to the consistency of an overfilled water balloon before it would be edible. So I waited. And I waited. And I put it in a bag with an apple and waited some more. After about two weeks I got fed up and rammed the slightly squishy persimmon in the freezer for two days, before defrosting it slowly at room temperature, which had the desired effect. Since the resulting fruit was not only water-balloon soft and very fragile, but also sort of wrinkly, and I figured not much good for an elegant, raw fruit-based dish, I eventually decided to serve the now jelly-like flesh in a baked good, namely persimmon cookies. The mix of spices and fruit in this particular recipe (not to mention the simple one-bowl method) attracted me; the cookies took about 6 minutes to bring together (most of which was spent trying not to get persimmon jelly all over the kitchen) and were nice and moist once baked due to the fruit in them. Due to the fruit in them, they didn’t keep amazingly well, and by day three were looking decidedly soggy on their bottoms, but with a batch this small that shouldn’t be too much of a problem; anticipate making and eating them over the course of a weekend, or freeze a few for a later date.
Persimmon spice cookies
Adapted slightly from White on Rice Couple
I think these little nuggets of hiccup-curing* goodness really do encapsulate the theme of charmed food perfectly; soft and sweet, slightly crunchy, and exotically perfumed with fruit and spices, smelling like a breeze, whipping straight out of the pages of 1001 Arabian Nights. I reduced the sugar by half from the original recipe (well the whole recipe was halved, so the sugar was quartered) and I’m not entirely sure what persimmon’s should taste like, but mine was almost sickeningly sweet (er, in a good way), so the cookies certainly did not lack for sweetener.
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup sugar
Heaped 1/2 cup persimmon pulp (1 large persimmon)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup gf flour blend
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
1/2 cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 160 C and line a baking sheet with parchment.
2. Cream together the softened butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and add the persimmon pulp. Stir in the dry ingredients until well mixed, then add the raisins. Chill the dough in the fridge for 20 minutes. Then scoop out with a tablespoon onto the lined baking sheet at 1-inch intervals. Bake for 12 minutes in the oven.
Makes 18-20 cookies. Serve with a nice delicate tea, perhaps white or jasmine, so as not to overpower the flavour of the cookies.
*Not yet scientifically proven I don’t think, nor even tested by me, but I will be sure to let you know just as soon as I try this out.