Persimmon Madeleines


I’m sitting here trying to figure out how I made it 37 years without ever tasting a persimmon. I’m finding it quite unimaginable, and yet, it’s true. I just never had one. They passed me by. Until about a week or so ago in Whole Foods. There they were, sitting in their pretty little basket… a lovely collection of Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons, sweetly looking up at me and sheepishly beaming “buy me! try me!” Perhaps I should have resisted, and kept to my unintentional boycott. Then, at least I could say, “I’ve never even tried a persimmon.” How many people can say that? Well, not me anymore.

I bought the persimmons. I tried the persimmons. I fell in love with the persimmons. I am now a persimmon fan-gal. A regular cheerleader for persimmons. And how could I not? The brilliant orange flesh, the tangy juice, somehow a combination of papaya, peach and mango all blended together into one succulent bite. Absolute ambrosia. Go Team Persimmon!

But I was heading out of town (I’m in NYC now! more on that later), with several ripe persimmons sitting in waiting. I’m only gone for 5 days, but I am sure that they wouldn’t last. I couldn’t bear to let them go to waste, so I decided we needed some persimmon based treats for the plane. Something easy to eat and carry. And then a weird idea came into my head: What about Persimmon Madeleines? They are easy enough to whip up (important, because I was cooking the morning of my evening flight), and the lightness of the spongy cookies seemed a good match to the tropical sweetness of the persimmon.

I went back to Bills Food for a lemon madeleine recipe, and made a few adjustments. It’s a tricky recipe to start with because all the measurements are in grams, and I am never very good at the whole measurement conversion thing, particularly when it comes to weights and volume. 200g of sugar and 200g of flour turn out to be very different in terms of cup sizes. And, since I don’t have a scale, and I couldn’t find any exact conversion formulas, I just had to wing it. In addition, because I was adding persimmon puree instead of lemon zest I knew I’d have to adjust the liquid in the recipe, and the only real thing I could do was add less egg. But whatever I did, seemed to work, because the madeleines turned out beautifully… soft and spongy with just a little crispness to them. The persimmon is very subtle, just a mellow sweetness that is hard to put your finger on, but gives them a little something extra.

A couple other notes on the recipe: be patient. I wasn’t and I rushed adding the butter before it had cooled completely to room temperature. This made the flour clot a bit too much, and I ended up with a fairly uneven batter. Also, the instructions say to let the batter sit for about 5 minutes before spooning into the madeleine mold. Do that. I didn’t, and the first batch turned out full of holes… light and delicious, but less than perfect looking. The second batch I made had a much better consistency.

Persimmon Madeleines

adapted from Bills food Lemon Madeleine recipe

Makes 20-30 madeleines, depending on mold size

3 Hachiya persimmons, very ripe
3/4 cup caster sugar (or 200g)
4 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour (or 200g)
1 t baking powder
6 oz unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 400F.

Melt your butter and get it cooling.

Cut the persimmons in half, and scoop out the flesh, discarding the center seed/core and skin. The meat of the fruit should be bright and translucent. Puree in a food processor until smooth.

Beat the eggs and the sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the persimmon puree and vanilla and mix till well combined.

Sift the flour and baking powder onto the egg mixture, and gently fold in. Then, fold in the melted, cooled butter. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes.

Spoon into your madeleine mold. Don’t overfill them. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, depending the size of your madeleines. The edges should be a golden brown.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before devouring.

PS: If you know your persimmons you’ll notice that the photo of the persimmon with the madeleines isn’t a Hachiya persimmon. It’s a Fuyu. Because I used all the Hachiyas in the batter. I haven’t tried but they don’t recommend cooking with the Fuyus.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

34 thoughts on “Persimmon Madeleines

  1. I love this post about persimmons! I grew up eating and loving my grandmother’s persimmon cookies but I have to admit I’ve never tried baking with them myself! Beautiful photographs as always!

  2. Two things: one is that my husband loves to freeze persimmons and then grate them, like a granita.

    Two, if you are in NYC and want some absolutely fabulous Indian food, go to Dévi. Do chef’s tasting if you are able to. Ask if there is Chai Panna Cotta for dessert: it’s one of the best things I’ve ever had.

    Photos and captions from a lunch I had there in May of last year are on my website.

    They just got a Micheli star. It’s some of my favorite food on earth. (Disclaimer: I am friends with one of the executive chefs, Suvir Saran. But I love love love Dévi.)


  3. I am so with you on measurements – i always have to ask assistance on converting. I’m so glad i’m not on my own.

    The madelaines are gorgeous. They look perfect! I’ve never tried persimmons either!!! Photos are stunning as usual 🙂

  4. I have the toughest time with persimmons. Not because they don’t taste good, but because everything about them except there little tops scream tomato. So when I eat them, I have a tough by running past that.

    I love the madelines. I’ll have to get by them by baking them! Great recipe.

  5. What a fabulously inventive idea! I’ve never made madeleines – they always struck me as so fiddly and complicated, but it would sure seem your results suggest otherwise.

    Btw, after looking for persimmons around here for YEARS I finally discovered that they’re called ‘sharon fruit’. But that still doesn’t mean they’re easy to find!

  6. I have been a regular reader of your blog (LOVE the smashing photos) and thought now would be a good time to comment…
    a) like the new look of your blog…it is very food magazine in aesthetics
    b) I have never had persimmons too and bought some yesterday as I thought I really should know what they taste like 🙂

  7. Hi Nicole – I had never heard of persimmon cookies before, but apparently they are quite popular. I definitely enjoyed these!

    Tana – After I made the cookies, and on the way to the airport, I thought about making a persimmon granita… it definitely seemed like a perfect fit for the icy treat. The color, I’m sure, would be outstanding. Chai Panna Cotta sounds fantastic. I wish we had more time to eat here.. our dinners are booked the rest of the trip! But, I’m developing quite a good list for our next trip here.

    Stefanie – I know it’s been a very good purchase for me! Thanks for your note!

    Thanks Mae! And, glad I’m on the only one 🙂

    husband – I know what you mean. I think tomato everytime I see them too. until you bite into it of course. Thanks for your comment!

    Melissa – They are quite simple, but it did take me a few tries to get them right. Of course, that’s because I’m a spaz and kept putting in the wrong measurements of ingredients… not exactly the madeliene’s fault that I put 2x the butter 🙂 With your mad skillz, you’ll have no problem! And, they are so cute!

  8. When I was growing up in Indiana my grandparents had a persimmon tree in their yard, so we got persimmon cookies and pudding (very dark and rich) every year. It’s kind of funny to see the fruit now being discovered and treated as something almost exotic as I remember it as Hoosier comfort food!

  9. hi there, i’ve been following your blog for awhile now, and i really love every entry of yours, esp the pictures =) you’re really a great photographer and everything just complements each other!

  10. Thanks for the recipe. I have a persimmon tree with enough Hachiyas to make these lovely looking treats. They aren’t ripe yet, but should be in a week or so.
    When they’re ripe, I hope to have enough after I make the madelines to make some persimmon bread. If that works out, I’ll post it on my blog.

  11. I love to make and eat madeleines and I fell in love with persimmons when I moved to the US 10 years ago. I wish they we less pricey because they are delicious. What a creative recipe! thanks for sharing!

  12. I used to eat persimmons with my aunt! I loved my aunt who was like my second mom and so I loved persimmons. I just made Madeleines from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking book and loved them – persimmon madeleines sound marvie. Have any leftover?

  13. I really encourage you to get a scale and try baking with it. I was skeptical when Matthew first brought home the scale a few years ago, but all it took was stirring up one batch of cookies (I think it may have been Nigella’s Sweet and Salty Peanut Cookies–from the British edition of Domestic Goddess, with ingredients by weight), and I was in love with the scale. Especially since you like to cook with Australian recipes, you’ll find the scale a revelation. It is both easier and more fun to measure baking ingredients on a scale. It’s also more accurate, but that’s sort of beside the point–it’s FUN.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your New York trip.

  14. Persimmons are probably the best fruit in the world. What I have to say Lara, for the fact that you never had these I love your bold experiment with the Persimmons.
    Oh and if you are looking for good converters I have found one that measures according to the ingredient you choose. The link is on the sidebar of my blog. Furthermore, there is also a link from a conversion table form AllRecipes. Hope it helps!

  15. It’s mango season here in Australia and I was thinking of making a mango madeleine using Bill’s and your recipe as a guide. Do you think youicould estimate how much persimmon pulp by volume or weight you used?
    Incidentally, as an expat Yank formerly from Seattle and San Francisco, I emphatically endorse the use of an electronic scale with both metric and imperial weights for all baking. When I use an American recipe for the first time I weigh all ingredients as I measure them and jot down the metric weights in the cookbook or on the printed out recipe. It is so much more efficient and accurate to weigh ingredients than to use measuring cups and in doing so you can be assured the recipe will always turn out the same every time. What’s more, multiplying or dividing the recipe is a whole lot easier using grams.

  16. Hi! I´m very happy I´ve found your website; I´m having so much fun reading your text and looking at your photos! I love persimmons, and here in Brazil they´re just delicious! After reading this post, I just want to buy madeleine molds and bake those! Congratulations on your great work!

  17. Your photos are amazing. With regard to persimmons, try to find the Fuyu, they are crunchy and crisp when ripe, none of the mouth-puckering nasty-ness. I will add these to my collection of persimmon recipes. Thanks!

  18. Glad to see yet another convert! Unfortunately, the answer to, “I’ve never even tried a persimmon. How many people can say that?” is most people. Even in areas which hold native persimmons as people became more urban, they seem to have become less adventuresome with regards to food. This is especially true of foods which require some knowledge before using.

    Now that you’ve found your love for persimmons, I can tell the that if you love the flavor of Asian persimmons, you’ll be even more enamoured of our native Diospyros virginiana, our common or American persimmons. The flavor is even more intense and depending on the tree (or variety if cultivated) can run from a light spice note to an almost caramel. While maybe not as plentiful in NY, you should be able to find this tree there. If not, search for pulp sellers online. It used to be that you could only get the pulp during the fall harvest but now you can get it year-round. If you have anywhere to grow trees, you might give them a look. They are slow growers.

    BTW, the common persimmon is astringent when unripe, much like the Asian Hatchiyas. They are best used for pulp after they are allowed to ripen. Fuyus are not great for cooking but are really good for eating out-of-hand even when not fully ripe as they are not astringent. Fuyus are also good in fruit salads or anything where slicing is involved. The astringent types are also good to eat out-of-hand when ripe, but they are very soft and usually require a spoon.

    I love them all, but if I’m looking for flavor, ripened astringent types win, and of the group, the natives win rather handily.

    Enjoy the harvest.

  19. Fuyu persimmons can be used, it just takes more prep time. I have a fuyu persimmon tree, so when it fruits I’ll take some and make pulp for use in recipes instead of Hachiyas persimmons. To make pulp cut the persimmons, simmer with water for an hour or two, then puree.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *