No, these are not some new fangled Christmas ornament! They are “Hachiya Persimmons” & although they are certainly pretty enough to be Holiday ornaments, I have another plan for them.
“A Simple Persimmon Walnut Tea Bread for when you need to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the Holidays”
When I was a young girl I loved the persimmon fruit from a tree that grew wild at the edge of our yard. It was gangly, never-pruned, pretty much ignored tree that went unnoticed all year until sometime in mid-December when the persimmons would begin to ripen taking on a soft yellowy custard color. The fruit very lush, short-lived and much appreciated. I do not remember Mother ever using them in recipes. We just ate them off the tree like apples.
The “Hachiya” persimmons that have been in the markets lately are not local nor are they the type that grows wild in the South. These persimmons are vibrant red-orange and are very hard, not ready to be eaten. Recently I purchased 5 of these for a photo shoot. We did not use them so I brought them home to ripen in a bowl on the kitchen counter. I got busy and forgot about them for a few days and during this time they ripened to perfection. Curiously I bit into one and was rewarded with an incredibly lusciousness. If I had to describe the flavor I would say it was somewhat like a very ripe mango or papaya or mamay crossed with a banana?
My tea bread version is adapted from a recipe in Tammy Algood’s mangum opus to Southern cooking, “The Complete Southern Cookbook”.
“A Simple Persimmon Walnut Tea Bread”
1 1/2 sticks of butter softened (I used Kerrygold)
1/2 cup Sorghum or Molasses
1 cup Persimmon pulp from very ripe persimmons (core, peel & puree pulp in processor)
2 cups all purpose flour mixed with 1/2 cup ground flax seed & 2 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1/4 cup turbinado or raw sugar
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease & flour a loaf pan.
2. In a bowl combine the flour, ground flax seed, baking powder mixture with the walnuts & dried cranberries. Set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer cream the butter & sorghum together. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.
4. Stir in the persimmon pulp until well blended.
5. Add the egg-persimmon mixture to the flour mixture stirring just to combine. Scrape batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle top with a 1/4 cup turbinado or raw sugar to add crunch.
6. Bake for about 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and continue to cool on wire rack.
7. This bread is best served warm or toasted along side a cup of tea or hot milky coffee when you need to sit down, take a break and a deep breath and relax for a bit. Happy Holidays.
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