Persimmons are generally in season between October and December. Fuyu persimmons can sit in the window for a long time before they rot, but Hachiyas are like avocados: once they’re ripe, they spoil quickly. Thankfully, you can make sweet breads out of them! The following recipe is one I’ve adapted myself, based on my own experimentation with several different recipes.
You’ll rarely find a bread as moist and rich as persimmon bread. In fact, it’s so moist, it usually requires much a longer baking time than most sweet breads. But don’t be intimidated! Persimmon bread is a worthy cousin of the more common pumpkin bread, and pairs perfectly with a cup of spiced tea on a chilly winter day.
1 cup butter, room temperature
1½ cups coconut palm sugar*
1 cup persimmon purée**
2 tsp baking soda
⅔ cup water or milk
2 tsp vanilla
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
* You can use any type of sugar, but coconut palm sugar gives this bread a warm, dark flavor.
** 1 cup of purée = 3 to 4 persimmons. Hachiya persimmons are best for this recipe, although you can use the Fuyu variety if they are very ripe and soft.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and grease two 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pans.
Cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time. In a small bowl, whisk the persimmon purée and baking soda, making sure there aren’t any baking soda lumps. Allow this mixture to sit for about 5 minutes until it becomes thick and gelatinous, then beat it in with the butter, sugar, and eggs. (There may be a few chunks of persimmon “jelly,” but that’s okay; it’ll all become smooth when you add the flour.) Finally, add the milk and vanilla and stir until well-combined.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add this to the wet ingredients a half-cup or so at a time, mixing until the batter is well-combined. Pour evenly into the greased loaf pans and smooth the tops with a spatula.
Bake the loaves for an hour and 15 to 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the centers comes out clean. (Persimmon bread is naturally sticky, so don’t worry if the tester comes out a little sticky, too! As long as it isn’t actual batter clinging to the tester, it’s fine.) Allow the loaves to cool in their pans for 15 minutes before removing them to cool completely on a wire rack.
One last warning: if you slice these breads while they’re still warm, they don’t hold up well. That said, there’s nothing like persimmon bread straight out of the oven. So whether you wait patiently for that picture-perfect slice or devour a warmer piece that’s completely fallen apart on your plate, you’re in for a treat!
The featured images are courtesy of Maribeth Barber and used with her kind permission for Cultivating and The Cultivating Project.
Maribeth Barber Albritton is a small-town Southerner captivated by stories, the beauty and love of her Savior, and the power of the active-contemplative, Christ-centered life. During her years as a homeschool student, she developed a fierce love for history, literature, and film. These passions inspired her debut novel, Operation Lionhearted, as well as her blog, A Writer’s Tale, where she often reviews books and movies from the angle of the Christian imagination. She and her pastor-husband Casey, both hobbits at heart, live in southwest Mississippi in a red-brick manse they’ve affectionately named “Crickhollow.”
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