I am a bit obsessed with persimmons. I love them for their bright orange color, their shiny skin, and their beautiful shapes. I've made persimmon cookies nearly every year of my adult life. Cookies were my go-to hachiya persimmon recipe. Then I found James Beard’s Persimmon Bread Recipe, shared by David Lebovitz. Persimmon bread is the best way to make the most of autumn's most beautiful fruit. This quick bread is a moist and sweet bread, like banana bread, but with a persimmon flavor. It is now one of my favorite persimmon recipes.
James Beard was an American culinary expert who embraced simple American and English dishes. In 1945, four years before I was born, he became the first chef to demonstrate cooking on network television. Take that Bobby Flay! I am a huge fan of David Lebovitz, so I trusted his recommendation of James Beard's famous persimmon bread recipe. I was not wrong in doing so.
Of James Beard, David Lebovitz writes, "The most charming thing about this simple Persimmon Bread recipe is that Beard gives bakers an inexact amount of an ingredient: sugar. So go ahead just this one time to improvise a little. Although I recommend using the higher amount of sugar, feel free to use whichever quantity you’d like…after all, you have permission from the granddaddy of all cooks, James Beard himself." (I chose to go with the higher amount of sugar, but feel free to cut it down to two cups.)
For the full recipe with quantities, see the recipe card at the end of the post.
If you are not familiar with persimmons, there are a few things you need to know. There are two main varieties of American persimmons available; the squat, tomato-shaped Fuyu and the taller, acorn-shaped Hachiya. Hachiya are the super astringent persimmons that remain very tart until they are extremely ripe and are best used in baking. Fuyu persimmons are sweet fruits and can be eaten while still firm, like an apple.
You do not want to eat an unripe persimmon. For baking, you most often want to choose the Hachiya variety. You will need to wait to use them until they are very soft and the flesh is mushy, like a very overripe banana. Until they reach this stage, they are just too tart.
Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Spray a loaf pan with baking spray and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, sugar and nutmeg.
Add the persimmons, raisins, pecans, egg and brandy.
Whisk until the batter is smooth and ingredients are incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap lightly to remove any bubbles.
Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
This is my slightly adulterated version of the James Beard recipe for persimmon bread.
- Large mesh strainer
- 2 Loaf pans
- 3½ cups all purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2½ cups sugar
- 1 cup melted unsalted butter cooled to room temperature
- 4 large eggs lightly beaten
- ⅔ cup cognac or brandy
- 2 cups persimmon puree persimmon pulp from about 4 squishy-soft Hachiya persimmons
- 1 cup finely diced persimmon from 2 Fuyu persimmons add 1 additional cup dried fruit if you don't have this
- 2 cups chopped pecans toasted
- 1 cups raisins or diced dried fruits (such as apricots, cranberries, or dates) (I used cranberries)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter 2 loaf pans and line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper (or dust with flour, tapping out any excess)
- Sift the first five dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. A large mesh strainer works great for this.
- For the wet ingredients, add the butter, eggs, brandy, persimmon purée, and diced persimmons, then the nuts and dried fruit into the dry ingredients.
- Divide the batter and pour into prepared loaf pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Mine took a bit longer.
- Allow to cool in the pan for five minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Can be served warm with butter as well.
Approximate nutrition information is provided as a convenience and courtesy only. You are encouraged to do your own calculations if precise data is required.
We take every effort to ensure that the estimated meal cost per serving is accurate. We use a meal cost analysis application that estimates the cost of a recipe based on groceries purchased at a Walmart store in my geographical area, northern California.