Sweet Wild Southern Persimmon Pie Recipe

This wild persimmon pie recipe will be a new fall favorite for your family!


One of my fondest childhood memories is walking the fencerow with my parents and my grandmother in the fall to pick persimmons. Picking this sweet fruit was a treat that I looked forward to each and every year. Making a southern wild persimmon pie or some persimmon pudding would have been fun, but we always ate them all before we could make it back to the house. I continue this tradition with my children by picking persimmons from trees on the farm and making our yearly persimmon pie treat!

Wild persimmons on tree branch

Harvesting Wild Persimmons

Wild persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) are usually called American Persimmons or Common Persimmons, but I grew up hearing them called Southern Persimmons so that is how I will refer to them throughout this post.

If you are gathering local persimmons, make sure that you pick them when they are ripe. You will typically find the most ripe fruit after the first hard frost, but you can find some (maybe enough for this pie) a couple of weeks before the frost. Look for persimmons that are soft and almost jelly-like. These will be the sweetest. If you pick them before they are soft enough, you can leave them on your countertop to ripen.

Ripe persimmons look like they are ready to be thrown out. They are typically a little darker and squishy with wrinkly skin. If you pick them before they are fully ripe, they are much more bitter.

You can harvest/forage wild persimmons by looking on the ground underneath persimmon trees. Usually, when the persimmons are ripe they will fall to the ground. If you, like us, have wildlife or livestock that eat the fruit as soon as it falls, you may have to get a little creative to grab them straight out of the trees.

Our Persimmon Foraging Adventures

We decided to go on our first persimmon-picking adventure last Sunday after church (2019). The deer had already snagged most of the fruit that had fallen to the ground and the branches loaded with ripe fruit were higher than we could reach on foot.

Gathering persimmons from the ground wasn’t an option so I went up in the tractor bucket to harvest. *Now don’t worry, we took precautions and I wasn’t high enough to cause any concern. I just needed a little boost.* The kids stayed on the ground with a bucket as I tossed the persimmons down to them.

Kids sitting in a tractor bucket with persimmons that they just picked.

We left the picnic spot with a bucket full of sweet fruit and sweet memories. Since we were able to summon up a little self-control, we had enough persimmons left the next day to make my sweet Southern Persimmon Pie recipe.

We have harvested persimmons in this way since 2019- 4 years and counting and it hasn’t failed us yet!

Wild Persimmon Flavor Profile

Wild persimmons taste different than commercially grown varieties of persimmons that you might find in the grocery store. For example, I grow Fuyu Persimmons, which are large, sweet, and wonderful to eat straight off the tree.

Wild persimmons, however, have an astringent drying effect on the mouth when eaten fresh. This is especially true in unripe persimmons. Many people say that ripe persimmons won’t make your lips pucker, but I haven’t found one yet that doesn’t make me pucker up just a little bit. When used in baked goods, this astringent effect goes away so I love to turn them into a sweet seasonal pie.

Wild persimmons in black crate

Persimmon pie favors pumpkin pie in texture and spices, but it has its own distinct floral fruity flavor.  You can make your own persimmon pie with locally harvested persimmons or, if you don’t have any trees nearby, store-bought whole persimmons or persimmon pulp.

Sweet Southern Persimmon Pie Recipe

To make this wild persimmon pie, you will need to forage for these sweet fall fruits and make a persimmon puree. The rest is easy-peasy pie-making basics!

**Makes one regular sized pie. If you are using a deep dish pie pan, you will need to double the ingredients.

Southern Persimmon Pie Ingredients:

Wild Persimmon Pie Directions:

STEP 1. Prepare your crust.

If you use a store-bought crust, be sure that it is thawed out and ready for baking. If you make your own homemade pie crust, have it made and pressed into your pie pan or cast iron skillet before starting on the pie filling. It is also a good idea to blind-bake the crust since this is a liquid filling.

STEP 3. Preheat oven and prep persimmons.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wash the persimmons well and cut the stems off with a sharp knife. Use a spoon to separate the skin from the pulp and then squeeze the pulp out using your thumb and forefinger. 

**I tried leaving the skins on the last time I made this pie and it did make a difference in the flavor and texture. You don’t have to remove the skins, but it is recommended.

Removing pulp and seeds from wild persimmons

STEP 4. Combine and blend the pulp & the ingredients.

Remove the seeds and place the pulp into a blender or food processor. Add 1/2 cup of milk to the pulp to help it blend.

Move the pureed pulp to a large bowl and add the spices and sugar. Mix until all of these ingredients are combined thoroughly. Whisk in one egg at a time and then whisk in the heavy whipping cream.

Wild persimmon pie filling and crust

Add the entire mixture back into the blender or food processor to puree once more. This ensures that you will have a silky smooth filling for your wild southern persimmon pie. 

STEP 5. Add persimmon mixture to the crust.

Slowly pour your pureed persimmon mixture into the prepared pie crust.

Wild persimmon pie before baking

STEP 6. Bake, Cool, and Enjoy!

Bake the wild persimmon pie for 30 minutes or until set (not sloppy wet, just a little jiggly). A toothpick poked in the center of the pie should come out clean. Let it cool completely (I suggest leaving it overnight) and then slice it up and serve topped with whipped cream and/or a homemade brown sugar cinnamon streusel. 

Wild persimmon pie after baking

Printable Recipe Card:

Sweet Wild Southern Persimmon Pie

Sweet Wild Southern Persimmon Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup persimmon pulp
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar or local honey
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 pie crust (I use the recipe found in The Homemade Household)
  • Brown sugar cinnamon streusel with pecans (optional)

Instructions

STEP 1. Prepare your crust.

If you use a store-bought crust, be sure that it is thawed out and ready for baking. If you make your own homemade pie crust, have it made and pressed into your pie pan or cast iron skillet before starting on the pie filling. It is also a good idea to blind-bake the crust since this is a liquid filling.

STEP 3. Preheat oven and prep persimmons.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wash the persimmons well and cut the stems off with a sharp knife. Use a spoon to separate the skin from the pulp and then squeeze the pulp out using your thumb and forefinger. 

STEP 4. Combine and blend the pulp & the ingredients.

Remove the seeds and place the pulp into a blender or food processor. Add 1/2 cup of milk to the pulp to help it blend.

Move the pureed pulp to a large bowl and add the spices and sugar. Mix until all of these ingredients are combined thoroughly. Whisk in one egg at a time and then whisk in the heavy whipping cream.

Add the entire mixture back into the blender or food processor to puree once more. This ensures that you will have a silky smooth filling for your wild southern persimmon pie. 

STEP 5. Add persimmon mixture to the crust.

Slowly pour your pureed persimmon mixture into the prepared pie crust.

STEP 6. Bake, Cool, and Enjoy!

Bake the wild persimmon pie for 30 minutes or until set (not sloppy wet, just a little jiggly). A toothpick poked in the center of the pie should come out clean. Let it cool completely (I suggest leaving it overnight) and then slice it up and serve topped with whipped cream and/or a homemade brown sugar cinnamon streusel

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Other Southern-Style Dessert Recipes That You Might Like:

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Apple Pie Bread Pudding

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Apple Pie Bread Pudding

No-bake chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with Coconut

These Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies require no-bake time, they set quickly (especially if you put them in the refrigerator), and they have oats so they are healthy…right? You can also use this recipe to make a Star Wars themed Wookie Cookie for a birthday party or event.

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

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3 Comments

  1. I stumbled on this…! Ha! I grew up with persimmons on an old tobacco -and-beef farm in Virginia! Never could eat them without my face turning inside out…they’d start out sweet and floral, then the tannin flavor would catch up to me! I loved those old trees!

  2. I’m going to try your recipe as soon as I get some hickory nuts. Worked with a lady who made a persimmon/hickory nut pie. She would gladly make one for you if asked, but under no circumstances would she share her recipe.

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