Cranberry-Persimmon Cobbler

Like cherries in the summertime, persimmons begin piling up in my kitchen as a way to announce the arrival of the Autumn months. Bags and bags and bags of them. For me, they're just as synonymous with October & November as pumpkins are. (I used to call them "baby pumpkins" when I was little.) My family used to have a persimmon tree in the backyard, a tiny one tucked behind the cherry, nectarine, and Asian pear trees. It barely ever had fruit, so when the cooler weather would finally come around and the tree gave us fruit for a few short weeks, my mom always excitedly sliced some up for us. These days, I get my supply from my aunts & uncles' or my brother-in-law's parents' trees. Before I made the Butternut Squash & Rosemary Mac N' Cheese for my brother-in-law, I asked Jeremiah to bring me more persimmons. (Fair enough exchange, I think.) I wanted enough to make a dessert! Enjoy this latest Thanksgiving-inspired sweet treat: Cranberry-Persimmon Cobbler!

Jeremiah brought me a nice, big bag of ripe persimmons. (With bonus apples too!) While I was thinking about what exactly to make, it hit me... I've never cooked or baked with persimmons. Never. I started to panic a little...what if I don't like it cooked the same way I like it fresh? What if you're not supposed to cook with it?!?

Finally, I came up with a compromise: pick a dish that lets the fruit shine. No cooking it until it's unrecognizable, no pureeing or over-spicing. Something simple...*Lightbulb*...Cobbler!

I started the cobbler by tossing diced persimmon in lightly browned butter and some brown sugar. I like how the fruit goes with the spice of the brown sugar and the nuttiness of the butter.

When I think of cobbler, berry cobblers are the first to pop in my head. Blueberry, blackberry, and even raspberry. As they bake, these juicy, sweet-yet-tart rounds burst and bubble away underneath a rich, biscuit layer. I picked cranberries because Thanksgiving is just days away, and grocery stores like to tempt you into buying them by sticking them EVERYWHERE. (I was getting coffee creamer, and there was a small display of cranberries right next to it. Seriously.) They just taste like...holidays. That, and they also have enough sourness to balance out the persimmons' natural sweetness.

After tossing the cranberries with sugar and orange liqueur, I layered them on top of the persimmon mixture in a 9.5-in baking dish.

Next, the biscuit topping! I actually used Ree Drummond's recipe from her "Blackberry Cobbler #2" on The Pioneer Woman. All you have to do is blend *cold* butter and shortening into the dry ingredients. Then, gently mix in 1/2 a cup of heavy cream and 1 whole egg. Don't overwork, otherwise the dough will be too tough. Also, I chose to use cream, as opposed to milk, because I like that extra richness. Aka, I like that extra fat. Which is totally okay because it's the holidays.

But, guess what?

I forgot the egg. I. Forgot. The egg. I don't know what happened. I don't know how it slipped my mind. I just...forgot. *sigh*...Notice how my dough looks a little dry and crumbly? That's because it is egg-deprived. However, this is not the end of cobbler-world. I still topped the fruit filling with scoops of the dough as I normally would, spacing them out and flattening them ever-so-slightly to achieve that classic "cobble"-stone look. But, as far as texture goes, I basically had a more pie crust-like topping instead of the traditional biscuit topping.

After 25 minutes in the oven at 425 degrees, the cobbler had a golden-brown crust on top and the fruit was stewing away on the inside. The red, syrupy juices bubbled up the edges and through the cracks of the dough...

The diced persimmons break down, and the cranberries make a thick sauce for the buttery "biscuit" layer to soak up. (I know my "biscuit" didn't reach its full,egg-y potential, but it was still delicious.)

A cobbler is not complete until it has a heaping scoop of ice cream or a dollop of freshly-whipped cream! I decided to go with the latter, mixing some brown sugar into the cream for the luscious crowning of my cobbler. I loved how the brown sugar-whipped cream tied in with the persimmons and how it was a perfect match for the golden, toasted crust on top. So, what was the verdict? Did I like the persimmons cooked as much as I like them fresh!? YES. I savored every warm, hearty bite! If someone gave you a bag of persimmons and it's been laying around while you wonder what to do with it, or if you're looking for a unique Thanksgiving dessert, try this Cranberry-Persimmon Cobbler!

Cranberry-Persimmon Cobbler (serves 6-8)

Print Recipe
Fruit Filling:
4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
4 cups Diced Ripe Fuyu Persimmons (about 8 small persimmons)
2 tbsp Light Brown Sugar
2 cups Fresh Cranberries
1 tbsp Cointreau (*Use orange-flavored liqueur of your choice or orange juice)
3-4 tbsp White Granulated Sugar

2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 tbsp Baking Powder
2 tbsp White Granulated Sugar, divided
1/4 cup Vegetable Shortening, chilled
4 tbsp Unsalted Butter, cut into cubes, chilled
1 whole Egg
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. To make the dough, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and 1 tbsp sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine all of the dry ingredients. Add the chilled butter and vegetable shortening. Using a pastry blender, "cut" the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients. The mixture will become coarse and crumbly. Measure out 1/2 cup of heavy cream, add the egg, and mix together. Pour these wet ingredients into the flour/fats mixture, stirring as you pour. The dough should be moist and smooth, not too dry.
  3. For the fruit filling, melt 4 tbsp of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Let the butter bubble and cook for 1-2 minutes, until it starts to brown and smells nutty. Add the diced persimmons and brown sugar, stir to combine, then turn off the heat. In a separate bowl, toss the cranberries with the orange liqueur and 3-4 tbsp of white granulated sugar (make as sweet as you prefer).
  4. Pour the persimmon mixture into a baking dish and top this layer with the sugared cranberries. Top the fruit filling with rounded scoops of dough, covering most of the surface. Flatten the dough slightly, sprinkle 1 tbsp of sugar over the top, then bake for 25-30 minutes. The fruit juices will bubble and the topping will be a golden brown color. Allow to cool slightly for 5 minutes after removing from the oven.
  5. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream! Enjoy!