Hi from Gillian. My housemates have been worried about what they consider "a persimmon problem" for several weeks now. Let me assure you: there is no persimmon problem. Never has been. Sure, Alyssa and Dan had to install a large new persimmon-storage shelf in our kitchen--but that is just an indication of how little of a persimmon problem we have. We've got tons of them! I was lucky enough to be invited to pick a whole small tree's worth of persimmons this year (about 200 small ones), and have been happily eating them ever since. I usually just peel them, cut out the pithy part in the middle (it's astringent and doesn't taste good), and eat the rest, like a peach. I think they taste like pumpkin and dried apricot. They're good a little crisp, and also when they're a little soft, with that slippery, juicy succulence. Also great in a salad, maybe with a few nuts and pomegranate seeds--this is my standard Thanksgiving salad. Totally soft and I usually give them to my friend Kimber, who makes a mean persimmon bread around holiday time.
OK, I lied. We did have a slight persimmon problem. The problem was, Jenn made several persimmon-mobiles 9visible in this Thanksgiving photo), and hung some of them outside, and then it froze, and so did the persimmons. So I had to use a lot of them right away, and I'd already given Kimber all he wanted...and then Theresa said she needed a treat to give to someone...and I finally tried my hand at cooking with persimmons.
The bread I made came out better than expected. The crunchy pecans on top are delicious, and there are lots of sweet surprises in the batter--chocolate, candied ginger, pecans, raisins, and cubes of persimmon. It's like a fruitcake in all the good ways. Here's my recipe! I started here but made so many changes that I think my recipe is now original.
Persimmon Bread (makes 2 standard sized loaves)
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
2 1/4 cups pureed persimmon pulp
3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
2 cups sugar
1 large handful raisins
1 large handful chocolate chips
1 large handful chopped pecans, plus another 1/2 cup or so for the tops
1 small handful chopped candied ginger
1 more firm-ripe persimmon, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Whisk together eggs, persimmon pulp, oil, and sugar. Add dry ingredients to this mixture. Stir just enough to combine wet and dry ingredients, then fold in the raisins, chocolate chips, 1 handful pecans, candied ginger, and diced persimmon.
Oil and flour two loaf pans (I used metal). Divide batter between the two pans and sprinkle the top of each pan of batter with about 1/4 cup chopped pecans. Put the pans in the oven for about 1 hour at 350 degrees (start checking for doneness after 45-50 minutes). When a knife comes out clean, take the loaves out of the oven and cool them completely (I did this on a wire rack). Your house will smell like holidays and this bread tastes at least as good as banana bread...I hope you like it!