Sunday, December 6, 2015

James Beard's Persimmon Bread

Boozy Persimmon Bread

It's that time of year here in Northern California when persimmons are in abundance.  Recently boxes of persimmons have been dropped off at my husband's office.  The majority of the persimmons end up at our house because it seems people just don't know what to do with them.   

  This year, I wanted to try a new persimmon recipe.  After an internet search for recipe ideas, I decided to try an old James Beard recipe for Persimmon Bread.  About ten years ago, the fabulous David Lebovitz adapted and revived Mr. Beard's wonderful 1970's recipe

 Hachiya Persimmons

For this recipe, you will need the Hachiya variety of persimmons. These are the elongated, heart-shaped persimmons.  They are often referred to as baking persimmons because their pulp puree is delicious in baked goods such as persimmon pudding and cookies. 


Hachiya persimmons need to be really ripe or they are astringent tasting.  The best way to ripen them is on the countertop.  You'll know they are ripe and ready to use when, according to David Lebovitz, they are "soft and like a water balloon about to burst."

 Glorious Persimmon Pulp

The recipe calls for 4 (squishy-soft) persimmons to make 2 cups of persimmon pulp but I ended up using about 8 persimmons for my pulp.  After spooning out the pulp, I put it through a fine mesh sieve leaving the seeds and skin behind.  What is left is the most glorious, orange-colored persimmon puree. 

 Ready to Bake!

 This recipe makes two loaves.  I like to kick-up the spices in recipes so I added: 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp ground cloves to the 1 tsp nutmeg in the recipe.  I used Cognac for my boozy liquor.  You can add your own combination of dried fruits and nuts to the batter.  I've made the recipe twice now and like it best with just dried dates and toasted pecans.

One of my best tips for making quick breads like this is to use loaf liners.  I picked up this tip while travelling in England and use loaf tin liners by Tala, a British brand.  I use 2lb loaf liners in my American 9" loaf tins.  

Another tip to prevent the edges of your breads from browning too much is to put foil strips around the loaf tin edges during the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking.  

Better than Fruitcake!

    This bread, like many quick breads, tastes even better a day or two after you make it.  You even get a little "whiff" of cognac when you unwrap it! 

Thank you James Beard and David Lebovitz.