The persimmons are just about gone on our lone persimmon tree, but I did get enough pulp to make some really nice tea bread with walnuts. The cake I made with persimmons before had a lot of spices, so the persimmon flavor wasa bit hidden. This recipe has very simple flavors, so the persimmon and walnut flavors are the stars of the show.
The cake is made with the muffing method of having a wet mixture and a dry mixture. When you put them together it's important to stir just barely enough to combine the two mixture. Excessive stirring leads to tough tea cakes. I'd also recommend not substituting for the butter unless you are vegan or allergic to dairy. With such a simple set of flavors, the butter has an impact.
I baked my batter up in small loaf pans. The extras make great little gifts for friends. The small size means you can have a couple of slices with your tea (or coffe, milk, cocoa, etc) without it being too much, even if dinner will be on the table pretty soon.
Persimmon Walnut Bread
From Baking in America by Greg Patent
3 fully ripe persimmons (about 1 pound)
1 ½ cups walnut halves or large pieces (about 6 oz)
1 ½ plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
½ cup sugar
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1. Adjust oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8 ½ by 4 ½ by 2 ¾ inch loaf pan (I used a set of smaller loaf pans); set aside.
2. Pull the stems off the persimmons and cut each fruit lengthwise in half. With a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon, scoop the pulp out into a bowl. Use a pastry blender or potato masher to chop or mash the pulp into small pieced; you should still have some pieces of persimmon mixed with the pureed pulp. Measure 2 cups and set aside. Eat any leftovers or reserve for another use.
3. Toast the walnuts in a shallow baking pan until fragrant, stirring once or twice, 6 – 8 minutes. Let cool completely. (Since my loaf pans were small, I chopped the cooled walnuts coarsely).
4. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together; set aside.
5. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until thoroughly combined and slightly frothy Add both sugars and beat thoroughly with the whisk. Whisk in the butter. Stir in the persimmon pulp and walnuts with a rubber spatula. Add the flour mixture and stir only until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and smooth the top(s). (Note: I made this using a stand mixer and was careful to not overmix…it worked fine.)
6. Bake for about 1 hour and 5 minutes, until the bread is well browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Smaller loaves require a shorter time to bake.) The bread will be quite dark, especially on the edges, but if loaf/loaves start to brown too much before being done, lay a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side up, loosely on top during the last 30 minutes or so of baking.
7. Cool in the pan(s) on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a small sharp knife around the side(s) to release the bread, and carefully unmold. Set right side up on a rack to cool completely. Wrap airtight. The bread can be frozen for up to 2 months.
8. Makes one regular size loaf, but recipe can be easily doubled. The origianl directions in the book were for double the amount shown here.
This recipe is a perfect one for Grow Your Own #24, an event from the lovely Andrea at Andrea's Recipes. The idea is to post about a dish you have made using something you have grown or harvested. Both the persimmons and the walnuts came from my yard. You can also replace the persimmon pulp with matching amount of applesauce and it will still be delicious tea bread.