Sweet Persimmons Are Just Right For Tender, Whole Wheat Scones

These sweater-weather treats perfectly balance spice with heartiness.

With fall upon us, there’s a whole new world of vegetables and produce to work with. We’ve partnered with Food52 to bring you recipes, ideas, and tips inspired by the new season’s harvest.

Persimmons tug at my heartstrings, not only because they are the basis of my favorite kind of birthday cake, but also because their blazing, sunset-orange color and deeply colored pulp is a much-welcome harbinger of fall in the Midwest, as the Northern Hemisphere marches toward bare branches and sweater weather.

Food52 user and fellow Hoosier Thirschfeld explains in his headnote for persimmon pudding that the American persimmon tree has a long history in the state of Indiana, and the Midwest in general—Native Americans cultivated it for its fruit and the tree's beautiful wood.

And while Thirschfeld mentions he'd only use American persimmons in pudding—you'll generally find these persimmons in pulp form rather than fresh—there are a few other styles you'll often see in stores, specifically the more widely available Asian varieties Hachiya and Fuyu. They look quite different from one another, with the Hachiyas sporting their signature heart shape versus the round Fuyus that, when cut in half, reveal a middle that recalls a sand dollar. You'll often encounter these at the market in the fall, and many recipes will specify which variety to use; Fuyus are usually tapped as the ones to use in baking. 

That's what is called for in these persimmon scones I adapted from Sara Forte at Sprouted Kitchen. Even though they're made with fresh persimmons, I wanted to have them mirror the flavors of a more traditional persimmon pudding, so I dialed up the cinnamon and added other spices and vanilla. They make my little heart sing: They're fall incarnate, packed with ricotta, sweet, juicy bits of Fuyu persimmon, and warming spices. Really, they’re autumn's answer to summer berry scones.

And, thanks to the mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flours, they don't turn out like hockey pucks. I'd smear them with an additional helping of ricotta, just for good measure.

The best thing is that is that you can adapt them for seasonality, since the base is so versatile. "I feel like scones can take on the trickier fruits, like cranberries or persimmons, which are otherwise tough to throw into, say, a salad or breakfast loaf, or to eat on their own," Sara explains. A tender scone is the perfect vehicle for persimmons, giving something that can easily seem a little plain (scones) a bit of a curveball.



Tender scones bake evenly thanks to Perfect Taste™ Convection in our Wall Ovens.

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She adds that while the whole wheat flour keeps the scone from being super light and fluffy, the ricotta steps in to alleviate some of that whole grain heft. And persimmon's sweet flesh, when ripe, is a great compliment to spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, which make a scone all the more cozy—plus it's exciting to have any seasonal fruit to work with post-summer, before the winter doldrums set in.

Whole Wheat Persimmon Ricotta Scones

“These scones are a lesson in adaptations. They're hearty, sweater weather scones, lightly adapted from Sara Forte from Sprouted Kitchen, who adapted them from Deb Perelman's The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.” —Samantha Weiss Hills

Servings: Makes 8 or 9 scones



1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

¼ cup cane sugar

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled

1 cup finely chopped Fuyu persimmons

¾ cup whole milk ricotta

⅓ cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Honey and extra ricotta, for serving


Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the dry ingredients together, the flour through the spices. Add the butter with a pastry blender, and cut the butter into the flour mixture until the pieces are the size of small peas (this can also be done with your fingers, just be quick to not warm the butter, or a knife). Toss in the persimmons and break them up a bit with the pastry blender.

Using a flexible spatula, add the ricotta, heavy cream, and vanilla to the butter mixture and stir them in to form a dough. Working quickly, use your hands to knead the dough gently into an even mass.

Transfer the dough to a well floured surface, flour the top of dough, and pat into a 7 inch square, 1 inch high. With a large, sharp knife, divide the dough into nine scones. Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet with the spatula. Bake the scones for about 15-18 minutes until they are lightly golden at the edges. Cool them on the pan for a minute then transfer to a cooling rack.

Serve slathered with more ricotta and some honey on the side.

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