The Ordinary Instant

“Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.” ― Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

This is my only offering this week. Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant. Death reminds us that our time on this planet is precious and unknown. All we have is this day. Today.  Ask yourself how much did you love? Would it be enough?

Persimmon Scones

With guidance from Tartine

  • 3 cups persimmons, chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 4 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup  unsalted butter, very cold
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk or dairy-free alternative
  • (optional glaze or reduction, see footnotes)

Preheat the oven to 400′. In a medium saucepan over high heat, melt 2 teaspoons of butter with vanilla and sugar, add chopped persimmons. Reduce heat and stir for 5-10 minutes until softened. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Add sugar, salt, and stir together. Cut or shave the butter into dry ingredients. Use a fork or whisk to break up the butter into small chunks throughout the mixture.

Add the buttermilk, then the persimmons. Mix lightly with a wooden spoon until the dough holds together, adding buttermilk or the reserved persimmon liquid to the dough as needed.

Dust a piece of parchment paper with flour and turn out the dough. Pat the dough into a rectangle (if making round scones, er, hockey pucks like mine) or into two circles, about 1-2″ thick. Using a round cutter, press out scones and lay on a baking sheet with parchment paper making sure to leave at least 1″ of space between each scone. Sprinkle raw sugar over the tops, generously, and bake for 25-35 minutes until just slightly browned.

*I think this Maple Nut Cream from Adrienneats, or a Maple Glaze from The Healthy Green Kitchen would make winning toppers to these guys. They’re more on the biscuit end, so a hit of sweet frosting or glaze would really make these a treat.

  1. Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen


    That book was so painful (and beautiful) to read that I couldn’t get through it. Too too much. Just too much.


  2. Kasey

    So simple, yet such a beautiful reminder to never take things for granted. I struggled through that book…like Adrianna said, it was extremely painful…I shuddered to think of how you handle a situation like that. A big, big hug to you! These scones are just gorgeous…the photos are so emotive, too.


  3. sara

    I really need to read that book, you’ve raved so much about it and I adore your thoughtfulness. I need to get on it. Thinking of you this week. xo


  4. talley

    a couple things – 1) that book was heartbreaking and powerful and so real. I’ve been thinking about getting Blue Nights, the one about her daughter Quintanna’s death, but I just can’t quite do it yet. Maybe in the new year, when faced with new years resolutions and big dreams I’ll read it to remind myself of the importance of little things and about how quickly life can change.

    2) I have been wondering what the HECK to do with all these persimmons flooding the market. I’ve found recipes for puddings and cookies, but scones are by far the best idea! I also love the tartine scone recipe so much that I basically throw whatever is in my kitchen into the mix. Thanks Kelsey, another great post!


  5. Kathryne

    I haven’t read any of Joan Didion’s work yet (it’s on my list), but I have lost loved ones. She’s right, life changes in the ordinary instant. It’s easy to get caught up in the inconsequential stuff (I’m guilty, I think it’s human nature) but all that ever really matters is loving and being loved. Thanks you the reminder. Thinking of you!


  6. Kathryne

    Thanks for chiming in? I didn’t write that! The you is supposed to be for, too.


  7. Amanda

    <3 <3 <3


  8. Amanda

    I read the book and swear m heart was broken after.


  9. Deb

    The perfect quote as we begin our crazed decent into holiday madness. All we have is this moment. What is really important? “Be here now” is always the best priority. Lovely post!


  10. LiztheChef

    Joan Didion has just published yet another book, this one about her daughter’s death. One wonders how much loss a single individual can endure…Beautiful photos. I loved how I was guessing about your ingredient – yams? – happy to see persimmons, an autumn fav.


  11. Fresh and Foodie

    Lovely! Anything that’s created “with guidance from Tartine” has to be good. Plus, persimmons may just be the cutest fruit in the world.


  12. la domestique

    I’m aware of Joan Didion, but haven’t read her books. Just not sure if I can go there. Life does change in an instant. Once you really learn that, from experience, you can’t go back to your old self. You go forward with that awareness and understanding. Life is so fragile. You’re right, today is all we’ve got. Let’s enjoy it with a lovely persimmon scone and a cuppa tea.


  13. shanna

    oh, I cried my way through that book, which I read in approximately two nights because I could. not. put. it. down. Thinking of you.


  14. Jun Belen

    The Year of Magical Thinking is one of my favorite Joan Didion books. Love the quote and love these scones.


  15. Jacqui

    I’m about half way through Didion’s book, so moving and powerful, but a little hard to think about all that’s happened so far. These scones look absolutely delicious, I’ve still yet to bake with persimmons. I need to change that soon!


  16. lauren @ spiced plate

    I’ve been eyeing the persimmons that are at our local corner store/awesome market, but was longing for a recipe in which to include them — I’ve always just eaten them plain. This sounds like a luscious way to savor them. I love the last photograph of the butter being hugged by the scone…I can taste it now.

    That question that you posed about loving enough is something that I think about often, and in the light of loss it tends to come up more persistence. We need to make room in our lives to show our love for others, sometimes…sometimes life gets so crowded with unimportant stuff…making moments matter is something I’ve been working on.


  17. Suzanne F

    So lovely – the quote, the photos, the recipe. Thank you so much!


  18. Rachel

    Such a good thought to bring up. I always feel like things zoom by and change so much towards the end of the year, so I appreciate the reminder to appreciate the moment I’m in. Also, I’ve always wondered what to do with persimmons. People seem to either love or hate them, but I’ve never tried them. This seems like a good way to try.


  19. Chez Suzanne / The Wimpy Vegetarian

    I don’t cook nearly enough with persimmons, and that should change. Starting with these scones. And I love your photos, really just love them.


  20. Kaitlin

    Persimmons are so foreign to me. I’ve only ever had one, and I have a hunch it wasn’t in its prime… I want to love them so badly!

    Also, I’ve been trying really hard to live in the moment lately. It seems like life is rushing by, and it makes me sad :(


  21. Damaris @KitchenCorners

    Nice. Persimmons is the food of the Gods.


  22. Sue/the view from great island

    These look amazing, I’m always on the hunt for new scones. I’ve never cooked with persimmons before but I’ve always thought they were so pretty. I like that you cook them a bit before baking, I imagine that would be the key.


  23. Lindsay @ Rosemarried

    The scones are beautiful, and your words are too. Life is precious and short, and this is a good reminder to make the most of it. It sounds as if you lost someone, and for that I’m very sorry.


  24. Amy

    Love everything about this post… thanks for the brief words, they were all you needed to say.


  25. Kathryn O

    Your photos are so stunning, they feel almost magical. Love this post – thank you for the simple, elegant reminder of what is really important in life.


  26. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    I’m a bit of a scone whore… can’t get enough of them. So, it goes without saying, I’ll need to try this recipe ASAP. And as I’ve never used persimmons before (I know… it’s sad), I’m putting this at the top of my list.


  27. Lisa



  28. Magda

    You are right; life does change in an instant. I have experienced that more times than I care to remember.

    I would have never thought to make scones using persimmons. What a great idea. Thank you!


  29. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

    I heart scones. And I heart persimmons. Definitely going to give this one a try!


  30. Sara

    I have not read Joan Didion but have heard so many wonderful things about her writing. I don’t think I can pick up that book though, it sounds too painful even though worth it.

    I love these scones. The orange is so bright and cheery, a real counterpoint to the Joan Didion!


  31. bigBANG studio

    HEAVEN. I just came home with half a dozen perfect persimmons and besides eating them whole like apples I’ve been looking around for a good baking recipe…will try these this weekend.

    Thanks for the truly kind comment, btw. Glad you enjoyed The Makers Project piece!


  32. jessica

    Just made this recipe but ended up putting it into a flat cake pan rather than making scones. Call it laziness or my small euro kitchen and lake of rolling pin. Can’t wait to give it a try. Thanks for the recipe!


  33. In Season: Permissons | House of Earnest

    […] credit: fresh persimmons | table | bundts | scones […]

  34. Jen

    Wonderful recipe, thanks! Live in San Francisco and had a bunch of persimmons delivered in my latest CSA produce box. The scones just came out of the oven and they are delicious. This recipe is a keeper – thanks for posting! I too love the photo chronicle of baking, your photos tell a yummy story :)


  35. Persimmon Scones | The Fauxmartha

    […] more like scones. Happyolks made them last year, perking my interest. And Sprouted Kitchen made them a couple weeks […]

  36. Adrienne

    I love these! And you’re right my maple nut cream would be perfect here.


  37. Sheila

    Why do the scones look so dark?


  38. Persimmon Scones | 1861

    […] list includes, buttermilk and whole wheat sourdough breads and persimmon scones. I found myself with some beautiful persimmons after the adventure with Chef Max and finally have […]

  39. Allison

    These look wonderful! We have wild persimmons here that are ripe after the first hard frost. They are small and have many seeds so cutting them into chunks is not an option. We harvest them after they fall to the ground. They are washed and put through a sieve and the pulp used. Do you think I could use the pulp in this recipe instead of the chunked up persimmon?


  40. Gloria

    I made this recipe today and I have to say they came out amazing! My family was pleased.


  41. Danielle

    These scones were absolutely superb. There is not one person in my family, including my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and second cousins, who did not absolutely fall in love. Thank you for making very many happy tummys! It has been a joy to make this recipe over and over again and still come out with the same incredibly moist, raw-sugar crunchy scones no matter what fruit I used. Thank you so much! This is by far my most successful recipe to date!


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