Although persimmons are not the most well-known fruit, they are worth seeking out for their deliciously rich and aromatic flavor as well as the beautiful color they lend to baked goods. This persimmon bread can be fancied up for a party or served up for breakfast with a spoonful of whipped cream.
A couple of weeks ago, I was asked by a group of young friends to describe what a persimmon tastes like… and I was actually speechless. Words can’t do justice to these beautiful seasonal fruits.
I keep an old metal bike basket on my kitchen counter overflowing with these beauties. Anyone who comes to visit is typically sent home with a few to snack on, and I’m known to eat several a day raw, just like a peach or an apple.
Because our persimmon tree is so overly ambitious, every fall I find myself in the same predicament, asking myself what to do with the overabundance of fruit. And every year I add to my list of recipes and ideas (dried persimmon garland, anyone?), and I freeze several bags of persimmon pulp. I can thaw a bag any time of year and cook something that tastes like fall.
This decadent, smooth and rich fruit just can’t be described in a few words. You’ll just have to try one for yourself to see what I mean.
There are two types of persimmons, and biting into each will give you a completely different experience — I’m talking a heaven- or hell-type experience. The first time I bit into a persimmon, being a naive teenager, I didn’t know “certain” persimmons were for cooking only. The experience of standing so innocently in that persimmon orchard and biting into that tannic, astringent fruit was so scary, it took me most of my adult life to give this fruit another try. Ask anyone who has ever made the same mistake I did, and they’ll understand — my throat felt like someone stuffed bitter chalk into my mouth, and I was convinced for a few minutes that my taste buds would never return to normal ever again.
Apparently I had bitten into a Hachiya persimmon, slightly pointed at the bottom and wonderful for cooking (or decorating), but not to be eaten raw unless extremely ripe. Later in life, I discovered Fuyu persimmons, incredibly sweet, flat and rounded on the bottom, which you can pluck before it’s soft and eat raw.
Persimmons are wonderful for cooking. Not only do they lend a beautiful, bright color, but they are moist and give an unusually nice texture to baked goods. Admittedly this recipe uses a bunch of bowls, so make a little extra room on your counter.
To make this fancy enough for a feast, top with the optional sliced fruit, and garnish with powdered sugar, or serve with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream. Who’s hungry?
Fancy persimmon bread recipe
To make persimmon puree, quarter very soft persimmons, and discard the seeds. (No need to peel first.) Blend until smooth and no chunks remain.
Yields 2 loaves
Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 50 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 cup melted butter
- 4 eggs, whisked gently
- 3 tablespoons rum
- 2 cups persimmon puree
- 2 cups roughly chopped walnuts
- Powdered sugar, thinly sliced persimmons for topping (optional)
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 bread pans with parchment, or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.
- In a second, large mixing bowl, cream together the sugars and butter. Add the whisked eggs, and stir to combine.
- In a third, small bowl, stir together the persimmon pulp and rum.
- Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the sugar and butter bowl. Fold gently to combine. Add 1/3 of the pulp mixture to this, and fold gently to combine. Repeat this sequence until all three mixtures are combined. Fold in the walnuts.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans, and top with paper-thin slices of persimmon (optional). Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and dry. Let cool slightly before removing from the pans.
- Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream, or cool completely, and top with powdered sugar.