If a persimmon cookie and a piece of taffy had a love child, you’d get something close to persimmon candy. It’s a chewy, sweet, rich caramel. It’s a delicious gluten free treat and like nothing else you’ve had before!
This recipe works best with wild persimmons found in the Midwest. If you’re lucky enough to have a persimmon tree or know someone who does, pick the fruit after the first frost.
They’re best after they’ve just fallen off the tree (before the raccoons find them!) or just barely hanging on to their branch.
The fruits are small, squishy, and have large seeds. I’m not going to lie: extracting the pulp is a pain in the butt.
I’ve tried several methods. All (except one) have left me cursing up a blue storm. I’ve tried:
- boiling them
- pressing them through a colander
- microwaving them (don’t do this, they explode)
- mashing them through a fine sieve
- putting them through a food mill
This past fall I finally decided to take a simple straight forward approach and it worked beautifully.
How to get the most pulp from your persimmons
I’m rolling my eyes at myself as I’m writing this, because I can’t believe I didn’t do this the first time. However, I was under the assumption that heat and pressure would be a far superior way to go. I was wrong. Try this with your next batch of persimmons:
- Gently wash the fruit and remove the top leaves and stem.
- Pry fruit open with your fingers and remove seeds.
- Use remaining pulp and skin.
This only works with overly ripe super soft wild American persimmons, not the Japanese varieties found in the grocery store. That’s a bummer, but it’s also why persimmon candy and cookies are such a treat!
How to make persimmon candy
This recipe makes one 1 1/2 pound log of persimmon candy.
- Put 2 cups sugar, 1 cup milk, and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Cook syrup until it reaches the soft ball stage* (236F).
- Add persimmon pulp (1/2 cup) and cook until temperature reaches 236F again.
- Turn off heat and add vanilla (2 teaspoons), 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Beat until mixture is slightly warm.
- Spoon caramel into small silicone candy molds and refrigerate or freeze for 1/2 an hour.
How do I know my candy has reached the soft ball stage if I don’t have a thermometer?
Another way to know if your candy has reached 236F if you don’t have a thermometer, is to carefully take a piece of it and drop it into cold water. If it forms a soft ball when touched, you’re there!
Persimmon Candy Variations
Stir in a cup of chopped toasted pecans or walnuts at the very end before putting into candy molds.
Persimmon Cookie Recipe
Here’s my favorite persimmon cookie recipe I got from my friend, Deb H. who got it from her fiancé. It might be his mother’s or grandmother’s recipe. Either way, it’s pure persimmon bliss!
Thank you, Amanda!
A special thank you to my friend, Amanda, for letting me raid her trees this year.
Amanda, her daughter Leah, and I climbed her golf cart and picked the last remaining persimmons on her trees. In return, I promised them a batch of persimmon candy and a batch of cookies.
Rich, tangy, sweet with deep notes of cinnamon – this chewy candy is a treat made with wild persimmons found in the Midwest.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon butter unsalted
- 1/2 cup persimmon pulp
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
Put sugar, milk, and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook syrup to 236F until it reaches the soft ball stage.
Stir in the persimmon pulp and bring the temperature back to 236F.
Turn off heat and beat in vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Beat until mixture cools and is only slightly warm.
Turn candy onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a log. Or press into silicone candy molds.
Refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Slice log into desired pieces or remove candy from molds.