Thursday, November 19, 2020

Persimmon loaf

This is an inviting autumnal loaf that I developed for persimmons. It is fragrant with dried ginger and spicebush - if you don't have spicebush, substitute 1 teaspoon microplaned or finely chopped orange zest

Any ripe persimmon can be used, including the small native American fruit (Diospyros virginiana). If you are using those, or the large, pointy Asian Hachiyas, they should be gelatinously ripe. If not they will taste furry and tannic and ruin the bake. And the native 'simmons and Hachiyas often have seeds, so work them through a food mill or remove by hand. 

Fat-bottomed Fuyus (shown above) are ripe when firm, but mash up their pulp so that it is smooth, for this recipe. You can do this by kneading the flesh hard through the skin, using your thumbs, then scooping it out, or in a food processor. A few small, remaining chunks are OK.

Like native American 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
1 ¼ cups sugar
½  cup melted unsalted butter
3 large eggs
¼ cup plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon ground spicebush
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon 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 (and to learn about spicebush!).

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. 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 possible. 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 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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