Bon Appetit’s persimmon bread

Persimmons are in season from November to February, and I made sure to get a bunch of the luscious fruit a couple months back from the SF ferry building’s farmers market. I’m partial to the Hachiyas, which are heart-shaped and edible when super-soft to the touch. I waited for them to get really ripe before popping them into the fridge so that I could eat them like ice cream.

But then I stumbled across a lovely recipe for persimmon bread in the January 2012 issue of Bon Appetit magazine, and of course, I had to give it a try.

The recipe:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup raisins (I used the golden variety)
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 large, very ripe Hachiya persimmons
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (I subbed plain yogurt with good results)
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of pecans, crushed (this isn’t in the BA recipe, but I’m partial to pecans and their savory crunch)

Persimmon bread
According to Bon Appetit, if you don’t have any Hachiya persimmons handy, then using 1 cup of canned pumpkin will work just fine.

Persimmon bread Persimmon bread Persimmon bread
I first got the raisins plumping in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of hot water. Then, in another bowl, I whisked together the flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In yet another bowl, I scooped the persimmons, which I’d thawed after removing from the freezer, out of their skins.

Persimmon bread Persimmon bread
I then puréed ‘em with a hand blender. Once smooth, I added the yogurt and orange zest. At this point, I flipped on the oven to 350 degrees F.

Persimmon bread Persimmon bread Persimmon bread
I whisked the persimmon purée, yogurt and zest until smooth, then set it aside. In another bowl, I beat the butter a couple of minutes, then added the sugar and beat a few more minutes, until it got light and fluffy. In went the eggs, which I beat in thoroughly. I then added in the persimmon mixture and combined well. I added the dry ingredients in three parts, folding until just mixed in. The raisins went in last. I poured the batter into a buttered and well-floured pan, then popped it into the oven for about an hour and change.

Persimmon bread
The result: a fragrant and uber-moist breakfast bread that pairs perfectly with a piping hot cup of coffee.

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