RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS STAFF, CEDITH COPENHAVER
A friend from California sends me a box of Hachiya Persimmons every year. It’s a real treat, but what to do with this luscious fruit that is only edible when it ripens into a gelatinous mush? Make Persimmon bread, of course and then share it with family and friends! If you’re not ready to make the recipe when the fruit is ready to process, you can scrape out the pulp and freeze it until you are ready to bake.
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup raisins
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or table salt)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 large, VERY ripe (completely ripe—critically important) Hachiya persimmons.
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. May use one 9x5x3” loaf pan or 3 small loaf pans (easy for sharing!)
- Use cooking spray in your pans or you can butter and flour them.
- Combine raisins and 2 tablespoons hot water in a small bowl. Steep for 20 minutes to plump raisins or microwave for 15 seconds.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- Scoop persimmon flesh from skins into a blender. Purée until smooth. Transfer 1.5-2 cups to a medium bowl (freeze remaining purée or save to add to yoghurt for a yummy snack later). Whisk in buttermilk and orange zest.
- In yet a third medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat ½ cup of butter until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes longer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until mixture is well combined. Gradually add persimmon mixture; beat until well combined. Add dry ingredients in 3 batches, beating just until incorporated. Fold in strained raisins. I also have been known to add ½ cup of chopped walnuts.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan(s). Bake until a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. For three small loaf pans, it’s more like 30 minutes. Test after 25 minutes.
- Let bread cool in pan for 20 minutes. Unmold and let cool completely on a wire rack. I prefer to pop it right out and eat it while it’s hot and steaming, even if it falls apart!