Persimmons are perhaps the most beautiful fruit of the fall and winter season. Persimmons can be eaten fresh, dried or cooked, and are commonly used around the world in jellies, drinks, pies, cookies, curries and puddings. These persimmon cookies are filled with walnuts, raisins, chocolate chips, and a variety of warm spices that smell wonderful when they are baking.
This recipe from Mrs. Alice Vartanian of Fresno, was originally published in December 2018, but is reprinted again this month. These persimmon cookies are an all-time favorite with Mrs. Vartanian’s family, and she has lovingly baked at the holidays for many years. “Persimmons are so prevalent here in Fresno, and many of my late friends and relatives always made these cookies (or a variation of them) for their families, church bazaars, luncheons, and special celebrations. These were very creative and talented women who loved to cook, and who enjoyed making a variety of traditional Armenian cookies, breads, and desserts at Christmas and for the New Year. It was very common to walk into any Armenian kitchen and see persimmons ripening in a large fruit bowl, waiting to be made into cookies, cakes, puddings, marmalade, or muffins,” remembers Mrs. Vartanian.
Mrs. Vartanian was born in Lowell, MA, and is a graduate of Lowell High School. With her talented brother, Stanley Sarkisian, Alice played classical piano and performed in many musical recitals and concerts during high school. Her parents were the late Levon and Pepay Sarkisian, immigrants from Adana. She was married to the late Arthur Vartanian, and is the mother of Christine Vartanian Datian, a contributor to the Armenian Mirror-Spectator, and Steven and Philip Vartanian. She is a member of the Ladies Guild at the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church in Fresno.
Alice is known for her culinary skills and creative abilities.
There is a variety of persimmon indigenous to the southern United States, but the two most common are Asian varieties – Fuyu and Hachiya. Fuyu are sweet, squat and yellow-orange, and ready to eat when still slightly firm. Hachiya, which are larger than the Fuyu and have a tip at the bottom, need to be super ripe and almost too “squishy” to pick up before you try to eat them.