If kindergarten teachers watched me in the kitchen, they’d probably give me a lecture about following directions. I’m not very good at it. To me, recipes are usually just suggestions or loose guidelines.
So, when I found this James Beard recipe for persimmon bread, the fact that he is practically the godfather of modern American cooking didn’t really stop me from deviating from the script. Clearly, I have no shame.
Despite my wanton disregard for Mr. Beard’s recipe, the finished product was delicious. My husband, however, said that he would have preferred the original. If you are like me and get the shakes if you don’t find ways to consume as much ginger as possible, my version is right up your alley. Otherwise, I imagine the original is pretty spectacular too.
If you’ve never tried persimmon, you are missing out. The ripe Hachiya persimmon, which is used i this recipe, is essentially this fragrant orange pulp held together by a thin skin.
I just had to squeeze it slightly and it burst. I just picked out the skin and membrane and no further preparation was needed.
Ginger Persimmon Bread
Adapted from James Beard, as found on David Lebovitz’s blog
Using the higher amount of sugar will produce a moister and, of course, sweeter bread.
1 3/4 cups sifted flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1/3 cup cognac, bourbon, or whiskey
1 cup persimmon puree (from about 2 squishy-soft Hachiya persimmons)
2/3 cup minced candied ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 1 loaf pan and dust with flour, shaking out any excess.
Sift the first 6 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Make a well in the center then stir in the fresh ginger, butter, eggs, liquor, persimmon puree. Mix gently, then add the candied ginger. Stir until everything is combined and the ginger is evenly distributed.
Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
The bread will keep for about a week, if well-wrapped, at room temperature, and should freeze well.
The bread was delicious. Persimmons have a subtle spicy taste to them, so they worked well with the ginger, cognac, and other spices. It was almost like a really gorgeous tasting fruit cake.