Any other fruit that looked like this would be tossed into the compost bin.
Around northern California persimmon trees grow in backyards and gardens. The orange orbs continue to hang on the tree after all the leaves drop off, creating a skeletal and yet abundant image. Many people don’t like the taste or don’t know what to do with the prolific fruit.
These Hachiya and Suijo persimmons are finally ripe enough to cook with after sitting in my garage for the last month. Since they are an astringent variety of this deep orange fruit, they can only be used when they are absolutely mushy.
One of my favorite ways to use juicy, soft persimmons is in James Beard’s boozy persimmon bread recipe. It calls for 2 cups of persimmon pulp, which is easy to scrape out by cutting off the top of the fruit and using a spoon to extract the pulp.
I used six Hachiyas and three Suijos to get 2 cups.
The recipe is simple to make, a basic quick bread with dry ingredients combined in a bowl and the liquids added all at once in a well made in the center. It makes a generous amount which you can divide into two loaf pans, six mini loaves or eight mini bundt cakes.
The flavor is reminiscent of a fruit cake with a little taste of alcohol, bursts of dried fruit and the crunch of nuts.
The recipe freezes really well too – here are my foil packages of persimmon bread ready to go in the deep freeze for enjoyment with a cup of tea or use as a hostess gift down the road.
Adapted from “Beard on Bread” by James Beard.
Yield: two 9-inch loaves or 6 mini loaves or 8 mini bundt cakes
3 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 -2 1/2 cups sugar (I used the lesser amount)
1 cup melted butter, cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs
2/3 cup cognac, bourbon or whiskey (I like bourbon)
2 cups persimmon puree
2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
2 cups diced dried fruit or raisins (I like to use a mix of golden raisins and dried apricots, nectarines or dates)
Coat the inside of the loaf or cake pans with canola baking spray very well. Preheat the oven to 350. Sift the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center then stir in the remaining ingredients, mixing completely until well combined. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake in oven 1 hour for regular loaves and 40-50 minutes for mini loaves or mini bundt cake pans. Test for doneness with a toothpick, which should come out clean when inserted into the center. Cool on rack for 10 minutes then take out of pans and continue to cool to room temperature.