Nothing says fall to me like when the persimmon tree in my backyard turns yellow and orange and has delicious globes of juicy hachiya fruits. It is a slightly elongated fruit that tapers to a point. They’re incredibly tannic and astringent when not ripe and need to be squishy-soft and feel like a full water-balloon before using, or you’ll be sorry. Once ripe, the sweet jelly-like pulp can be spooned out and pureed through a blender, food processor, or food mill.
I picked a dozen and froze some to bake with later, and let four large ones turn nice and ripe on my counter in a bag with some apples. I found this yummy sounding recipe from James Beard and decided to try it out. What is so interesting is he doesn’t give an exact amount for the sugar, so you can decide for yourself when enough is enough. Using the higher amount of sugar will produce a moister, and of course, sweeter bread.
His recipe calls for 2 x 9in loaf pans, but I decided to use half the batter to make muffins instead. Easier to serve and give away 🙂
Adapted from Beard on Bread by James Beard
3 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 to 2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs; at room temperature, lightly beaten
2/3 cup Cognac, bourbon or whiskey
2 cups persimmon puree (from about 4 squishy soft Hachiya persimmons)
2 cups walnuts or pecans; toasted and chopped
2 cups raisins, or diced dried fruits (such as apricots, cranberries or dates)
1. Butter load pans. Line the bottom with a piece or parchment paper or dust with flour and tap out any excess.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Sift the first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl
4. Make a well in the center then stir in the butter, eggs, liquor, persimmon puree then the nuts and raisins.
(I chose toasted walnuts and cranberries for a crunchier texture and bright colors)
5. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Storage: Will keep for about a week if well-wrapped at room temperature. The Persimmon Bread takes well to being frozen too.
I made mine with that extra 1/2 cup of sugar and it was so moist and sweet it felt more like a cupcake than a muffin. So delicious and made a wonderful scent in the house!