Thursday, November 15, 2012

Arch Street Persimmons #2

                                                                      November fruit          
                                                                  Glowing amber-orange
                                                                       Fading slowly

Fortunately the leaves were still vivid when I visited the Arch Street tree for the second time, because most of the persimmons were gone... picked or fallen in the wind. Perhaps the lucky owner made my favorite persimmon bread. The recipe calls for ripe hachiyas (not the crisp fuyu variety), and appears in Beard on Bread by James Beard, dating from 1973.                                                                

                                                               Persimmon Bread

In his introduction to this recipe James Beard comments,"Persimmons grow in many countries of the world, but often, as in France, they are left hanging on the trees. In this country we have learned to appreciate their superb deep-orange color, their shape, and their delicious flavor... In earlier times they were allowed to ripen on the trees until dead ripe before being eaten raw or used for puddings, cookies, and breads. Nowadays they show up in our markets in a firm state and must be left at room temperature for several days or a week to ripen until they are almost mushy."
                           3 1/2 cups flour                         1 cup melted butter
                           1 teaspoon salt                          4 eggs, lightly beaten
                           2 teaspoons baking soda           2/3 cup Cognac or Bourbon 
                          1 teaspoon nutmeg                    2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts & raisins (optional)
                          2 cups granulated sugar          2 cups persimmon puree from about 4 medium, very
                                                                            ripe persimons—not necessary to peel                                                                    

Sift all five dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Then make a well in the center and add the melted butter, eggs, Bourbon (I always use Bourbon instead of Cognac, which gives the bread a je ne sais quoi magical quality), persimmon puree, and if you like, the nuts and raisins. Mix the dough until it is quite smooth. Butter two 9X5X3" loaf pans, or four smaller molds, and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Cool the loaves in the pans and turn out on a rack.
Note: Wrap in foil after cooling. They will keep nicely from 1 to 2 weeks



  1. Gorgeous photos -- Allie too. I have to say -- and this makes me sound very unadventurous about eating -- I never much liked persimmons, although I haven't had -- or seen -- one in eons. I can't even recall their taste, something just very sweet. But if you recommend that bread, I will try. The pumpkin bread was soooo good.

  2. I agree with you about the hachiya variety. In fact, I tasted the puree before I added it to the other ingredients and it had no perceptable flavors at all, just sweetness and a kind of gelatinous texture which seizes up even more when it combines with the baking soda. It's amazing what a shot of bourbon can do to perk up the finished product. My kitchen still echoes with bourbon-scented baking amoras and the persimmon bread came out of the oven hour ago.

  3. Your persimmon-tree haiku is beautiful! If I were poetic I'd have better words than "beautiful" to descibe it.