Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Persimmon whoopie pies

You can't ask for a better cookie for whoopie pies, at least texture-wise. These guys are soft with a tight crumb, more like muffin-tops than like a typical cake or cookie, and held their shape beautifully. The taste overall is more sweet than spicy or zingy, although it has elements of both—up the spices or lemon as you wish.

1 c persimmon pulp from 4 hachiya persimmons
1 t baking soda
3/4 c walnuts
6 pieces crystallized ginger
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 egg
2 T limoncello
1/2 t vanilla
1 3/4 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t cloves
1/2 t allspice

Preheat the oven to 350F and grease three baking sheets. Blend the persimmon pulp with the baking soda until smooth and gelling, and set aside. Grind the nuts and ginger together in the food processor, and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Beat in the persimmon gel, egg, limoncello, and vanilla until well blended, breaking up any last persimmon chunks if you can but not worrying about it too much. Beat in the dry ingredients until just combined, then stir in the walnuts and ginger. Scoop by tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets to make ~3 dozen cookies and bake for 20 minutes, rotating the sheets half-way through. Transfer immediately to cooling racks and let cool completely (overnight).

1/3 c old dry currants
1 T liqueur (eg 1/2 T maraschino + 1/2 T amaretto)
boiling water
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 stick butter (4 T)
1 T lemon zest
2 c powdered sugar

Let the currants soak in the liqueur overnight. This didn't do much, so in the morning cover them with boiling water and let them plump up while you pop to the shops to get cream cheese. With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and lemon zest, then beat in the powdered sugar. Drain the currants and beat them in. Spread a generous blob of frosting on the flat side of half of the cookies, and sandwich another cookie of the same size on top. Store in the fridge, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

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