Thursday, October 24, 2019

Persimmon Loaf



This sweet loaf is going to be a feature on my late-season plant walks and picnics.

Any ripe persimmon can be used for this recipe, including the small native fruit (Diospyros virginiana). If you are using those, or the large, pointy Asian Hachiyas, they should be gelatinously ripe; if not super-soft they will taste furry and tannic and ruin the bake. Fat-bottomed Fuyus (shown above) are ripe when firm, but mash up their pulp so that it is smooth. You can do this by kneading the flesh hard through the skin, using your thumbs, then scooping it out, or in a food processor, or through a foodmill (this removes seeds, too, from the native fruit). A few small, remaining chunks are OK.

Like pawpaws (Asimina triloba), persimmon pulp is dense and the baking time is quite long, as a result.

Makes 1 large loaf ( 5 ½" x 10 ½" pan)

1 ½ cups ripe persimmon pulp (about 4 - 5 Fuyus, or 3 - 4 Hachiyas, depending on size)
1 ¼ cups sugar
½  cup melted unsalted butter
3 large eggs
¼ cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 ¼ teaspoons salt (this is not a typo)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda

Optional topping

1 Tablespoon Fir Sugar* (or mix sugar with ginger, or a pinch of cloves)

* See Forage, Harvest, Feast for Fir Sugar

Preheat the oven to 350'F/180’C.

Butter a loaf pan 5 ½" x 10 ½" pan (or use two small loaf pans, or even muffin trays, but reduce the baking time to about 50 and 25 minutes, respectively).

In a large bowl, combine the persimmon pulp, sugar, melted butter, eggs, yogurt, spices, and salt and beat them together until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and stir these into the wet mixture with a spoon, using as few motions as necessary. Transfer the batter to the buttered pan, sprinkle the sugar topping across the batter (if using), and slide into the oven.

Bake for 70 minutes, or until a skewer or toothpick poked inserted fully into the thickest part come out clean. Gently tip the loaf from the baking pan and allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing.


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