I’m having a bit of a fling with persimmons this winter. First, there was the chutney included in this pretty project. Next came that red leaf and fuyu persimmon salad (I ate it again today). Today, I took very ripe hachiya persimmons and made a batch of hearty, not-too-sweet oatcakes.
When I bought this pair of hachiya persimmons, my plan was to make a batch of cookies. I have a recipe from my grandma Bunny’s little file box that I’ve long intended to make (she died when I was 15 and cooking her dishes brings her back a little). But when I pulled the card out to see what I’d need, I realized that I wanted something just a little more virtuous than a cookie made with two sticks of butter and lots of white sugar.
And so, I took the recipe and started rewriting. I cut the butter in half (who needs two sticks when you’ve got all that luscious persimmon pulp to lend moisture?). I used a little coconut palm sugar to sweeten (if your pantry doesn’t run to such things, use sucanat or brown sugar). I added some toasted pecans for protein and crunch. And I used a combination of rolled oats and oat flour for backbone (make your own oat flour in your food processor or blender. Takes 90 seconds and keeps things simple).
Unlike the salad I wrote about last week, this recipe uses the pointy-ended persimmons. This variety is incredibly astringent when firm, but when ripe, becomes super sweet and perfect for baking. I let mine soften on the counter for more than a week, until they felt soft, heavy and a little like a full-to-bursting water balloon. To use them, you simply cut off the stem end and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
The finished oatcake is tender and moist, but still manages to hold its shape nicely. I used a 1/4 cup disher to portion the dough into little mounds, but you can also grab a couple soup spoons and scoop the old-fashioned way. These guys are nice toasted for breakfast, tucked into packed lunches or gobbled in front of a computer with a cup of tea as a late afternoon snack.
A couple notes:
- If you don’t have easy access to persimmons, you could also make these with a cup of mashed banana.
- If you use gluten-free oats, these oatcakes become gluten-free. A nice feature these days.
- If pecans are too pricey, use toasted walnuts. Or skip the nuts entirely. Sometimes I substitute toasted millet for nuts in baked goods, when I want some crunch but I know someone in my eating audience is allergic.
- Because these oatcakes are quite moist, they should be tucked into an airtight container and kept in the fridge or freezer within a day or so of baking.
- 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar or sucanat
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup hachiya persimmon puree
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 1/2 cups oat flour
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar together (do this in the bowl of a stand mixer, in a regular mixing bowl with a hand mixer, or with a wooden spoon and elbow grease).
- Once they're incorporated, add persimmon puree, eggs, and orange zest. Stir until combined.
- In a small bowl, whisk the oat flour, rolled oats, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg together. Add to wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.
- Stir in the nuts.
- Scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the oatcakes are browned. Rotate sheets halfway through baking, so that they cook evenly.
- When time is up, remove oatcakes to a rack and let them cool.
- Store oatcakes in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They can also be frozen for longer storage.