Christmas time always reminds me of persimmon bread. Growing up, we had a beautiful and prolific persimmon tree in our backyard and the fruit turns orange around the same time the leaves do, in late November. My mom would puree the fruit and freeze it so she could make this bread during December, wrap it in festive paper, and give it away as gifts, always saving extra for Christmas morning.
Our tree had Fuyu persimmons, which are flat bottomed and very tasty when firm. The Hachiya persimmon is acorn-shaped and is terribly astringent when firm; it should only be eaten when it’s very soft and ripe, unless you want to know what it feels like to have your tongue stripped of all taste buds. Either kind can be used for this recipe, just make sure they’re soft so you can easily puree.
3-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2-1/4 cups sugar
1 cup melted butter
Four eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup Cognac
2 cups persimmon puree (the pulp of about four medium, very ripe persimmons, can keep skins on)
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
2 cups chopped dates (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. Slowly add in melted butter, eggs, booze, persimmon puree, and stir until well combined. Add in nuts and dates, if desired.
4. Butter and flour four bread molds, fill them about three-quarters full, and bake for about one hour. Cool the loaves in the molds and turn out on a rack.
Wrap in foil after cooling if you wish to keep them. They will keep for about one to two weeks. For a more dessert-like bread, use muffin tins and drizzle with a lemon-powdered sugar glaze.