This time of year it seems like Persimmons are all over the place. Grocery stores, farmers markets, even my parents’ fridge! Yesterday when I was looking for a snack, I found 4 beautiful persimmons just begging to be cooked. As I was pondering them on the counter, my husband and brother said almost in unison, “Ew, aren’t those things gross?” No! I nearly shouted! I think persimmons are great. I cut them up and toss them in salads and even eat them raw, butI actually can’t say I have ever really cooked with them. So I decided to bake these persimmons up into something even the most skeptical persimmon eaters would love. What I ended up with was one of the most delicious, moist, flavorful loaves of bread I have ever baked!
First things first. You need to make your persimmon puree. This is what keeps the bread so super moist but also adds the subtle flavor of the persimmons. Just slice your persimmons up and puree in the blender. Some people say you have to peel them- but I disagree. Especially if they are really ripe the peel just disintegrates when you puree them, so don’t give yourself extra work!
Now it’s time to get your dry ingredients together. I loaded everything into a big sifter. Sometimes I think sifting is a waste of time, but every time I do it, I do think it makes my baked goods a bit lighter and fluffier. So I suggest taking the extra time to sift., especially since you are using wheat flour which tends to be a bit clumpier (that is the technical term right?!:)) So, you sift together white flour, wheat flour, freshly grated nutmeg, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Then, you make a well in your dry ingredients to add your wet ingredients. Just push your dry ingredients to the side until you can almost see the bottom of your bowl.
Now get your wet ingredients ready. You need 4 eggs (beaten) 1 Cup butter (melted and cooled), 2 Tablespoons of good honey, your persimmon puree, and the secret ingredient…
That’s right, good ol’ whiskey. 2/3 Cup to be exact. Let me tell you, this gives the bread that little something extra that makes you keep discretely slicing off tiny slices until, whoops! you have eaten half a loaf.
Add all that into you well along with 2 cups dried fruit. Here is where you can get creative. Rasins, crasins, dates, figs, apricots. Whatever your heart desires! I used 1 Cup crasins and 1 Cup golden rasins. I think you need at least 1 Cup sweetned fruit (i.e. crasins) because the bread itself isn’t too sweet, but let your imagination run wild!
Mix up the dry and wet ingredients and in the meantime, toast up 1 Cup peacans in the oven at 350 degrees for about 8 min or until toasty and smelly (in a good way!). Make sure to shake the pan at least once.
Next, fold your pecans into your batter and you are ready to load your batter into 2 greased and floured bread pans. Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out completely clean.
When they are baked through, let cool in their pans for about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and flip onto a cooling rack to let completely cool before you slice.
Oh, and when you slice! You guys, this bread is so fantastic it turned my husband and brother into bonafide persimmon lovers. The big chunks of fruit and nuts and the hint of whiskey along with the moist persimmon puree – my mouth is watering as I type! Trust me, if you haven’t baked with persimmons, try this recipe! You will love it! Let me know how it goes!
Recipe adapted from Beard on Bread by James Beard
3½ cups sifted flour (2 Cups white flour, 1 1/2 Cups wheat flour)
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 cup melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2/3 cup bourbon or whiskey
2 cups persimmon puree (from about 4 squishy-soft persimmons)
2 T good honey
2 cups toasted and chopped pecans
2 cups dried fruits (such as rasins, apricots, cranberries, or dates)
1. Butter and flour 2 loaf pans.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Sift the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
4. Make a well in the center then stir in the butter, eggs, honey, liquor, persimmon puree, and dried fruit.
5. Fold in toasted pecans.
6. Bake about 50 min or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Enjoy!! I’d love to hear how it goes!