Now that Christmas is right around the corner, I'm in the mood to cook all those holiday goodies that put me in the seasonal spirit. I came across this persimmon bread recipe a while ago and thought it was about time I gave it a go. Persimmons have begun to pop up at fruit stands and corner stores throughout the city begging to be eaten. They make more than just beautiful holiday decorations, they make beautiful food as well!
Courtesy: James Beard, Beard on Bread
3½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 to 2½ cups sugar (see notes below)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted 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 very ripe, 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)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two loaf pans (9x5-inches). Line the bottom of the pans with a piece of parchment paper or dust with flour and tap out any excess.
Sift the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center, then stir in the butter, eggs, liquor, persimmon puree, and finally the nuts and raisins. Distribute the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let the bread rest in their pans for 10 minutes before un-molding and cooling on wire racks. If freezing, cool completely, wrap once in plastic wrap and again in foil. Label and date.
Yield: Two 9x5-inch loaves
- These breads will keep for about a week, if well-wrapped, at room temperature. They also freeze well.
- If you prefer a bread that is slightly less sweet, only use 2 cups sugar.
- Be sure your Hachiya persimmons are extremely ripe (as Mr. Lebovitz says, they should feel like filled water balloons). If they're under ripe they taste astringent and yucky. You should be able to spoon their pulp out with ease.
- To make persimmon puree, cut off the leafy top and cut your persimmons in half lengthwise. Spoon out their pulp, discarding skins, and puree in a food processor or blender until smooth.