• Serves: 1 loaf
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 50 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy

By sharing this recipe, I’m hoping to answer, once and for all, a question I’m asked a lot; ‘what is a persimmon?’ Despite sales of this relatively new fruit soaring year on year, and despite their near perpetual presence in most major supermarkets, many people still have no idea what a persimmon is, nor what to do with it. I can answer both of these questions, dear readers, so lend me your attention for a few moments and you might just find your fruit repertoire expanding to include this tasty new addition.

A persimmon looks a bit like an orange tomato; squat and glossy with a little leafy stalk. They come in two types: fuyu and hachiya. The latter are much bigger and softer-skinned, and ready to eat when they’’re truly ripe, almost like a water balloon in squidginess. Fuyu are the type you’’re more likely to see in our supermarkets: they are smaller, their skin is thicker and crisper, and you can eat them when they’’re still fairly firm (test them as you would a mango or avocado). Hachiya persimmons are the best for this recipe, but as you’’re unlikely to find them I’ve adapted it for the fuyu variety (if you find hachiya, use two instead of four, and make sure they’’re very ripe).

Fuyu persimmons are delicious, with a crisp outer skin and a slightly jelly-like interior, with a subtly sweet flavour reminiscent of a cross between a peach and a mango. They’re good eaten raw, but you can also add them to salads as you might mango or nectarine; they’re lovely with salty cheeses and cured meats. In baking, think of them as similar to bananas: you want them to be really super-ripe, almost inedibly so, before you use them. When baked into cakes and loaves, they have a similar flavour to bananas and contribute a similar moistness.

Essentially, this recipe is a persimmon take on banana bread, made more exciting with the addition of toasty pecans and gooey blueberries. It’’s deliciously moist, fragrant with mixed spice, vanilla and orange zest, and made with healthy spelt flour so it won’’t give you a huge sugar crash.

It’’s perfect for afternoon tea, but I like to eat mine for breakfast, slathered with creamy ricotta cheese and served alongside a big mug of green tea and some fresh raspberries. It toasts very well, too, and is excellent spread with butter. The texture is a little like a malt loaf: fudgy, gooey, dark and delicious. It takes only a few minutes to put together, but makes a lovely substantial loaf. If you can’t find persimmon, use bananas, it’’ll still be delicious.

 

here's what you'll need...

  • 4 ripe persimmons, stalks removed and puréed in a blender (or 2 large very ripe bananas, mashed)
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 100ml buttermilk, yoghurt or milk
  • 300g spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1.5 tsp mixed spice
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 70g pecans, chopped (or other nuts of your choice)
  • 80g blueberries

persimmon bread ingredients 1

 

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set oven temp: 200C/gas mark 6

here's how it's done...

  • 1

    Pre-heat the oven to 200C (180C fan). Grease and line a loaf tin.

    In a large bowl, beat together the persimmon purée (or mashed bananas), melted butter, vanilla, eggs, sugar and buttermilk/milk/yoghurt.

    persimmon bread step 2

  • 2

    In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and mixed spice. Add this to the wet ingredients and fold together with a large spoon until just combined.

    persimmon bread step 1

  • 3

    Stir in the orange zest, pecans (reserve a few for decorating) and blueberries.

    persimmon bread step 4

  • 4

    Pour into the prepared tin and scatter the remaining pecans over the top. Bake for around 50 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

    persimmon bread step 5

  • 5

    Allow to cool if you have the willpower, and serve with lots of butter or ricotta cheese. It keeps very well and is wonderful toasted if you’re not eating it fresh (though why wouldn’t you?!).

    persimmon bread post image 1

    There you have it: your introduction to the persimmon. Enjoy.

 

By Elly McCausland on 14.07.14

Guest Contributor

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