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11/10/14

Persimmon Bread, Picking Wild Persimmons in the Woods of Southern Indiana

Wild Indiana Persimmons are usually about the size of an English
Walnut.
I remember at Grandma's house the lane that led from the barn lot to the "little woods" as my Dad's family called them. Just at the entrance there stood a tall and stately tree.  After the first hard freeze the walnut sized fruits on this tree would darken from their bright apricot color to a darker hue with a pinkish grey hue and become quite soft and sweet.  But if you dare to taste one prior to it's ripening your mouth would pucker with such severity you would NEVER forget the occasion!  Thus was my first taste of a persimmon one snowy day long ago.

They grow on Persimmon trees and are full of hard black seeds between the size of watermelon and pumpkin seeds.
We rode on a wooden wagon pulled by an old Ford tractor, one of several Grandpa had there on his farm.  Dad had driven all us kids out to pick the ripe persimmons.  We all stood much taller on the bed of that wagon and easily reached the soft fruit. After which my Grandmother baked the most delicious persimmon pudding topped with sweetened whipped cream. That was the day I fell in love with the wild persimmons of southern Indiana.

The recipe for her Persimmon Pudding is at this earlier link if you would like to see more about it.     thehiddenpantry.blogspot.com/2011/12/old-fashioned-persimmon-pudding-my.html

Today I am making something new Persimmon Bread.  My husband's friend who had the trees from where these fruits came Saturday asked my to make him Persimmon Bread so I am testing recipes today!

I cannot think of another way to remove the seeds from the pulp than a food mill.
The first step after picking the fruits is to rinse them off and remove the stems or caps.  Next you need to run them through a food mill to remove the hard black seeds found in the pulp. 

I add the juice of a half of a fresh lemon to 3-4 cups of pulp.
I add the juice of half a lemon to about 3 cups of persimmon pulp.  Most recipes call for 1 or 2 cups of persimmon pulp for a recipe so I froze the pulp in 1 cup packages today.  I yielded 10 cups and tucked them away in the freezer from about 10 pounds of fruit.

I have seen persimmon pulp compared to apricots and honey.  They do sort of look that way!
This recipe is adapted from James Beard's Amazing Persimmon Bread Recipe found on davidlebovitz.com  and it is my first attempt at baking Persimmon Bread.

The loaf came out a dark glossy jewel like loaf.
Ingredients for my adaptation of James Beard's Amazing Persimmon Bread:

1 3/4 C. flour
3/4 t. kosher salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 C. sugar
1 stick (1/2 C.) cooled melted butter
2 large lightly beaten eggs
1/3 C. Kentucky bourbon (Cognac, bourbon, or whiskey will due)
1 C. persimmon pulp
1/8 t. Fiori Di Sicilia (intense citrus vanilla flavoring) You may substitute grated orange zest and vanilla)
1 C. pecans rough chop
1 C. golden raisins

Butter loaf pan and line with parchment paper or dust with flour.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir altogether well.

Spread into the prepared pan and bake 1 hour or until a skewer placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool.  Yield 1 large loaf.

It is truly delicious!
Will keep well one week wrapped securely.  Persimmon bread also freezes well.


1 comment:

Wendy Phelps said...

Hi, would you believe the first time I tasted a persimmon was last year, I had never seen them before then. I love them, we have two varities in the store now and I love the variety that you eat soft and over ripe. You must have had so much fun picking them wild and what great memories. Best wishes wendy