Dried persimmons (gotgam in Korean) are a popular traditional Korean snack, especially during the autumn season when persimmons are in abundance. They have also been used in Korean cuisine as ingredients for various treats such as rice cakes, sujeonggwa (persimmon punch), gotgamssam (walnuts wrapped in persimmons) or as garnish in desserts.

Today, let me introduce you to gotgam-danji, a special treat made with dried persimmons. These delicacies don’t taste like anything else you’ve ever had: sweet, chewy, and jelly-like on the outside with a sweet nutty filling on the inside. They are made by filling dried persimmons with nuts and stuff until they are puffed-out into their original persimmon shape, which kind of looks like a small jar (called a danji in Korean).

Historically, gotgam-danji were reserved for the royal family and nobility because the ingredients were expensive and precious. But these days we can easily find all the ingredients in Korean grocery stores and we can make these delicacies at home. All the flavors are natural and harmonious, without the use of refined sugar at all. They have the taste and feel of winter!

These are some tips for you:
The size of your final gotgam-danji depends on the size of the dried persimmons you buy, and I recommend you find the best quality you can. They should have a little white frosting on them, which means they are nicely dried and sweet. If they are a little too soft you can dry them out a bit more at home, just lay them out for a few days in a well-ventilated part of your house. And the gotgam shouldn’t be too dried out, or it’s too hard to shape them. You’ll also need yujacha, a marmalade made from yuja—a sweet jelly with a distinctive aroma. Adding edible gold flakes is optional but it really makes these treats look beautiful and fancy. You can’t taste the gold at all, it just makes gotgam-danji look special.

I grind everything by hand in a mortar and pestle but you could use a food processor too!

I really love these gotgam-danji, they are delicious, fun, and unique. I hope you make some for the winter holidays and enjoy with your friends and family!


Makes 12 small gotgam-danji (or 8 large gotgam-danji)


Prepare the chestnuts

  1. Cut each cooked chestnut in half and use a small spoon scrape out the flesh into a mortar.
Scrape flesh from chestnuts
  1. Pound it with a pestle until there are no hard lumps.
Pound chestnuts
  1. Put the pounded flesh into a coarse strainer over a bowl. Use a spoon to push the flesh through the strainer into chestnut crumbs.
Strain chestnut crumbs
  1. Discard any bits of brown chestnut skins. Measure 1 cup of the crumbs and put it into a bowl. Set aside.
Chestnut crumbs

Prepare the walnuts

  1. Blanch the walnuts for 1 minute in boiling water. Then rinse them in cold running water to remove any dust left in the gaps.
Wash walnuts
  1. Dry them well with paper towels or kitchen towel. Put them on a microwave-safe plate in a thin, even layer, and then microwave on high heat for 3 minutes. You can also toast them on a pan for 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon as needed, until light golden brown and crunchy.
Microwaved walnuts
  1. Heat the rice syrup in a pan over medium heat until the surface is full of bubbles. Add the walnuts and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture turns thick. Be careful not to overheat! If the temperature becomes too high, they might start to smoke. If that happens, quickly reduce the heat or raise the pan to stop them from burning.
Walnuts cooked in syrup
  1. Spread the hot mixture onto a piece of parchment paper on a large cutting board or working space. Let it cool down about 10 minutes until it becomes solid like candy.
Walnuts on parchment
  1. Break it up into small pieces by hand and put it into a mortar. Pound with pestle into small bits. Add this to the chestnut crumbs in the bowl.
Pounding walnut candy

Prepare the jujubes and make the filling

  1. Hold a jujube in one hand and your knife vertically in the other. Push it into the jujube until you can feel it touching the seed.
Deseed jujube
  1. Turn the jujube as you work your knife around the seed, to separate it from the jujube fruit. Repeat it with the rest of the jujubes. Discard the seeds and cut the jujubes into small pieces. Add to the bowl of chestnut crumbs and walnuts.
Chopping jujubes
  1. Add pine nuts, salt, and yujacha to the bowl. Mix it well with a spoon and then by hand.
Stuffed persimmon filling

Prepare the dried persimmons

  1. Gently remove the stem from the persimmon.
  2. Put your thumb or index finger into the hole where the stem was and fill out the shape of the persimmon by pressing and turning it. If you feel and touch seeds, gently remove them through the hole.
Shape gotgam-danji
  1. Keep shaping the persimmon into the shape of a small jar (in Korean: danji).
  2. Repeat with the rest of the persimmons.

Stuff the persimmon

  1. Take some of the filling in your hand, squeeze it a little bit to make it firm, and then press it into one of the empty persimmon. Add more to the persimmon and fill it out until it looks like a little plump jar.
Add filling to gotgam-danji
  1. Repeat with the rest of persimmon jars and the filling.


  1. Cut off a little of the skin on top and place some gold flakes (if used).
Gold leaf on gotgam-danji
  1. Cut it into quarters with a sharp knife. Freezing the gotgam-danji for a couple of hours before serving will help you get a nice, clean cut.
Cutting gotgam-danji
Cut gotgam-danji
  1. Freeze any leftovers. Thaw them out for 5 minutes at room temperature before serving.
Gotgamdanji with tea and rice cakes

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