Posted by fourclankitchen on December 3, 2011
James Beard’s “Beard on Bread” is an incredible book. I bought it maybe 15 years ago and it is still my favorite go to bread book. Even now, I can go to it and find something new in it as I did recently with this persimmon bread. In the breakfast bread/muffin category (made with apples, bananas, zucchini etc), this bread holds its own. It is really worth having in ones’ repertoire.
For those that don’t usually use persimmons, it is a mild flavored fruit that comes in several varieties, some of which can be eaten firm while the others have to be softened to the point that they feel over-ripe or even rotten. I can’t keep the two categories apart, so for the purpose of this bread, I just allow whatever persimmons I buy to go to the super-ripe state prior to use.
For this version, I made 2-3 substitutions in the Beard recipe. I used a combination of grated apples and persimmons, simply because I didn’t buy enough persimmons. I’ve also made it with just persimmons and both breads taste excellent. I replaced the mace with cinnamon and cloves (for convenience) and the 2/3 cup cognac with 1/4 cup of apple cider (the lesser amount figuring that it would not evaporate as much as the cognac). I am giving you both the original and my substitutions below.
3½ cups sifted flour
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon grated mace (I substituted with 2 tsp. ground cinnamon and 1/8th tsp ground cloves)
2 to 2½ cups sugar (I used 2 1/2)
1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter and cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup Cognac (I used 1/4 cup apple cider, you may be able to add a little more if you use the larger amounts of nuts and raisins as below)
2 cups persimmon puree from super-ripe persimms (I used eureka, but Hachiya persimmons would be fine as well).
2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped (I used 1 cup)
2 cups raisins (1 used 1 cup)
1. Butter 2 9″x 5″ loaf pans, dust with flour and tap out any excess.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Mix the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
4. Stir in the butter, eggs, liquor/cider, persimmon puree, mix well, then add the nuts and raisins.
5. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. Eat cake for breakfast with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.