Friday, September 10, 2010

Persimmon Bread

For the past couple of years, I've been seeing persimmons at the Farmer's Market. There was an article about persimmons in the current issue of Edible Austin as well. I took the plunge this year and bought a small box of persimmons last weekend.

I learned several things.
1. There are two common types of persimmons: Fuyu and Hachiya.
2. You use these two persimmons very differently.
3. Fuyus are commonly eaten while they are still hard (crisp) and often in salads or wrapped in meat.
4. Hachiyas are not eaten until they are very soft and mushy. They are usually baked. The most common recipe is some form of bread pudding.
5. If you add bourbon to a recipe, it pretty much hides the fact that you used the wrong kind of persimmons (especially if you were sure to use very soft and mushy fuyu persimmons that were beginning to smell a tad bit fermented).

I used a James Beard recipe for persimmon bread to use my very overly ripe Fuyu persimmons. It contained bourbon, which I just happen to have on hand because I am getting ready to make my own vanilla extract (thanks to my cousin who gave us homemade extract last year for Christmas). If you don't have bourbon or would rather not use alcohol in your baking, you can substitute orange juice (which I probably will do next time).

The verdict? Curtis and I thought it was pretty good. M was adamant that she didn't like it. J ate an entire piece and then decided he didn't like it. Fine with us. It makes a great breakfast bread.

This makes 1 9" loaf

Persimmon Bread
adapted from David Lebowitz who adapted it from James Beard

1 3/4 c flour
3/4 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg (or 1/2 t regular ground nutmeg)
1 to 1 1/4 c sugar
1/2 c melted butter, cooled to room temperature
2 lg eggs
1/3 c bourbon, cognac, whiskey, or orange juice
1 c persimmon puree (I peeled the persimmons and pushed them through a mesh sieve, discarding seeds in the center)
1 c pecans (or walnuts), chopped
1 c raisins or other diced dried fruits

Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and sugar. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients, then stir in butter, eggs, liquor or orange juice, and persimmon puree. Add the nuts and raisins and stir until just combined. Pour into a greased and floured 9" bread pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

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