Wednesday 27 May 2009

persimmon & bourbon bread

I’ve been very inspired by Autumn this year. It seems to have captured my imagination.

Chestnuts, brussel sprouts and pears have all featured on my menu lately.

Last weekend I cooked up a feast, preparing roast pork loin w cider and pistachios, pickled sausages, quince jam and this delectable persimmon bread.

Persimmons have baffled me because I never knew what to do with them. They always seemed tasteless with a clammy texture, but I realised I just wasn’t using them correctly.

Fuyu persimmons, squat and round, should be eaten fairly firm. You peel the skin and either eat whole or in slices. Paired with a top quality vanilla yoghurt they are simply divine.

Hayicha persimmons are the ones you want to cook with. They are more elongated that Fuyu and when ripe the interior becomes a jelly mush that's perfect for purée, jam and cakes.

Persimmon & Bourbon Bread (w Pecans & Apricots)
Anna’s adaptation of
David Lebovitz’s version of James Beard’s recipe. Makes one 9-inch loaf.
1¾ cups sifted flour
1¼ cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup persimmon purée (approx. 2 overly ripe Hachiya persimmons)
½ cup melted unsalted butter
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup bourbon
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup diced dried apricots


1. Preheat oven to 180’C/350’F degrees.

2. Grease a 9 inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with a piece of baking paper or dust with flour and tap out excess.

3. Sift the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

4. Make a well in the centre then stir in the butter, eggs, bourbon, persimmon puree then the pecans and apricots.

5. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

David says it will keep for about a week at room temperature, if well-wrapped, and can be frozen too. But mine didn't last that long!

I have a fan forced oven and my bread took about 1 hr and 20 minutes until it was cooked. That really surprised me because usually everything cooks much faster in my oven.
I also used Wild Turkey Honey liqueur as my bourbon.

Persimmons are from the genus Diospyros in the Ebenaceae family along with ebony wood.

They were known to the ancient Greeks as Diospyros, which translates to "the food of the gods". In English they were called Date-Plum, a direct translation from the Persian word “khormaloo”, but these days we call them persimmons, derived from putchamin, pasiminan, or pessamin, (meaning "dry fruit") from Powhatan, a Native American language of the eastern United States.

The Japanese Diospyros kaki is the most widely cultivated species, explaining why the two most known persimmons both have Japanese names.

There are two main types of persimmon: astringent and non-astringent.

Hachiya is the most common astringent persimmon with high levels of soluble tannins which makes the immature fruit bitter. It needs to be fully ripe before consumption.

The fuyu variety is the most common non-astringent persimmon, which can be eaten when firm and not overly ripe.

There is also a little-known third variety, sold only in farmers markets in Japan and prized for its brown flesh.

You can eat persimmons fresh, dried or cooked. To quicken the ripening process, simply store persimmons with apples or bananas and the ethylene emitted from these fruit will speed along the persimmon.

In Asia, sun-dried persimmons are prized and the Japanese version, brought to the US West Coast by Japanese migrants and known as hoshigaki, are growing popular.

The world’s top ten producers, in order of most to least, are China, Korea, Japan, Brazil, Italy, Israel, New Zealand, Iran, Australia and Mexico.

Fresh persimmons are supposedly good for constipation and haemorrhoids, although too many can cause diarrhoea. But no problem, because cooked persimmons are supposedly good for treatig diarrhoea!

Wikipedia explains the “contradictory effect of the raw and cooked fruit is due to its osmotic effect in the raw fruit sugar (causing diarrhea), and the high tannin content of the cooked fruit helping with diarrhea”.

But persimmons do have a dark side. One of the tannins contained in raw persimmons can coagulate in the stomach and form an obstructive mass or bezoar. In fact, 85% of phytobezoars (those of plant origin) are caused by persimmons and more than 90% of persimmon bezoars have to be surgically removed! Gross! There are known epidemics in persimmon growing regions where people consume a lot and it's recommended never to eat persimmons on an empty stomach or, strangely, with crab meat.

This is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook. Be sure to see what spring/autumn fare is being cooked up around the world.

Other persimmon recipes:Persimmon Blondies - Vanilla Garlic
Persimmon Chutney - Ambrosia & Nectar
Persimmon Cookies - Pinch My Salt
Persimmon Flan - Christine Cooks
Persimmon Madeleines - Cook & Eat
Persimmon Muffins - From Our (Brazilian) Home to Yours
Persimmon Pavlova Cupcakes - Cupcake Bake Shop
Persimmon Pickles - Rookie Cookery
Persimmon Pomegranate Fruit Salad - Simply Recipes
Persimmon Rice Pudding - Christine Cooks
Persimmon Smoothie w Mint & Lime - Lucullian Delights
Persimmon Spice Cake - What's for Lunch, Honey?
Persimmon Tart - The Kitchn
Persimmon Vinegar - Rookie Cookery
Persimmon, Parsley & Olive Salad - Herbivoracious
Poached Persimmons - White on Rice Couple
Sujeonggwa (Korean persimmon punch) - The Kitchn

Morsels from the Archives:
2006 - Rosewater Cupcakes
2007 - Kingfish Sashimi w Lime / Salmon Sashimi w Ginger Soy
2008 - Grilled Eggplant w Tahini-Yoghurt Dressing



  1. That's a lovely autumn loaf, Anna! Thanks for all the persimmon info. It's time for a closer look when I next find them.

  2. Wow, I love your blog. I want to try all your recipes.

  3. I have just bought in Venice, Califronia, a bag of dried persimmons ... I will try this great looking bread once I am back in Paris!

  4. I guess I am going to have to wait for winter in the Northern Hemisphere to happen before I can make one of these.

  5. Hey thanks for the link! That's a nice post about persimmons. I think your pictures of the different types are useful.

    I have successfully used our Fuyu variety in baking, by letting the fruit get over-ripe (but not rotten). It seems to work pretty well although probably not as easy as using the hachiyas.

    Your recipe sounds really good, and I will try it this winter when our hemisphere enjoys the colder weather.

    It's fun to see what you are cooking up "down under"!
    Best regards,

  6. I will now be keeping my eyes open for persimmons - this looks fabulous

  7. Very interesting recipe - bourbon in cake? Sounds like just the thing with a glass of mulled wine on a cold winter's night

  8. Hello Anna,
    I've just now found this post and am sorry I missed it when you put it up. It is a beautiful loaf indeed, make in your fall and now I'm seeing it as my fall is beginning. :)
    Thank you for not one but two links to my blog. I appreciate it!


Thanks for saying hello. It's great to know there are people out there in cyberspace!

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