My neighbor is a lovely elderly lady named Rosie. She lives on a property that once used to be an orchard. It is no long a working orchard but she still has plenty of trees that grow beautiful and delectable fruits each year: plums, peaches, apples, oranges, figs, walnuts, and persimmons which she generously gives away. On the edge of the property sits a lonely hachiya persimmon tree. Hachiya persimmons are highly popular and prized in the Korean culture. Let’s just say my mom was more than happy when we moved here. On her visits during the fall months, she takes bags full of these persimmons.
Other than my mom, no one wants these beautiful fruits. It’s a little sad to see all the fruit fall off one by one, going to waste. I, myself, am not a huge fan. But one day, in my attempt to rescue a few of these unwanted fruits, I picked some and left them on the counter…and totally forgot about them. So much for my rescue attempt. Thankfully, these fruits need to soften, I mean completely soften like a baby’s butt, before you can eat them. One day, as I was washing the dishes, I looked over in the corner where I had stowed them, and completely forgot about them, saw that they were the perfect ripeness. I tried to flip through my head what I can make with these. I have made persimmon pudding before but I remembered it being a lot of work. And who wants to do a lot of work? In my state of laziness, I decided to make persimmon bread. I’ve never made it before but I found an easy looking recipe from James Beard so I decided to try it.
I made just one loaf (so I halved the recipe) since I wasn’t sure if I would like it. I regretted that decision as soon as I took the first bite. It was DELICIOUS. It’s super moist with just the right amount of sweetness. It almost has the texture of baked goods made with molasses even though the recipe doesn’t call for any. It would be great for breakfast, snack, and even dessert. As for me, I found my holiday gifts to give out this year.
Understandably, I went out immediately and picked a whole basket full of persimmons. It’s sitting on my kitchen counter now. It is no longer the unwanted fruit. I have rescued them…to travel to my belly and many other bellies.
Persimmon Bread adapted from Beard on Bread by James Beard.
Makes Two 9-inch Loaves
3½ cups sifted flour
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2½ cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
*2 cups persimmon puree (from about 4 squishy-soft Hachiya persimmons)
2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
Butter 2 loaf pans. Line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper or dust with flour and tap out any excess. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center then stir in the butter, eggs, persimmon puree then the nuts. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes.
*Most people will squeeze out all the fruit from the skin and put it in the food processor to make it completely smooth. But if you are lazy like me, just squeeze out the fruit and mash with a fork. I actually prefer it with some texture. See, being lazy ain’t always a bad thing 🙂
Storage: Will keep for about a week, if well-wrapped, at room temperature. The persimmon breads take well to being frozen, too.