As I walk through produce stands at farmers markets or whole foods type markets I try to familiarize myself with the colorful array of the wonderful food sources God has created for us on this sweet Earth. When I come across products that are foreign or exotic, curiosity radiates through me and I start googling on the spot or vexing the food stand attendant with an abundance of questions. This reoccurring pleasant dilemma struck recently at the Pasadena Farmers Market.
What is the first thing you think of when I say Autumn & the letter P? Chances are it’s Pumpkin or better yet Pumpkin Spiced Latte if you are within 5 miles of the omnipresent Starbucks Enterprise. I too fall victim to the creamy decadence of Pumpkin Spiced any-and-everything but one “P” fall favorite we may be overlooking is the Persimmon.
I’ll bet, if you don’t already know of this autumn fruit, you’ve seen it without realizing it. In America it’s predominantly available in two varieties. One is shaped like a pumpkin and the other long like a Roma tomato and they range in color from yellow-orange to red. The Persimmon is categorized as either astringent or non-astringent. In my experience the tall oval type, Hiyacha, are bitter and the short and stout; Fuyu, Jira, Kaki are sweeter. The Kaki, also known as Japanese Persimmons, texture is similar to that of a fibrous apple or pear and are quite sweet when ripe. They have a delectable flavor component that I can’t identify differentiating it from all other fruits. Persimmons are great snacking fruits in raw, dried, or cooked form and can also be used in jams, puddings or my personal preference; baked goods.
After studying up and eating Persimmons I deduced the flavors would lend the perfect sweetness while maintaining the moisture similarly needed in Martha Steward Banana Walnut Bread however with our good friends Katie and Topher coming over for dinner I wanted to try my first attempt at Vegan Baking so I incorporated James Beards idea of pairing Cognac and Persimmon. With the help of two of my most idolized chefs and the bakers conversions I’ve been educating myself on I came up with this sensational recipe:
Persimmon Cognac Pecan Bread
Recipe by Katie Bonzer
(2) 9×5 Bread Pans or 24 muffins
1.5 cups or 4 Kaki Persimmons, ripe peeled and pureed (the skin will still be firm enough to peel but the inside will be soft, avoid using the core)
1/2 cups Cognac (I used Courvoisier VSOP because that’s what I used to cook with)
2 cups or 6 Bananas, very ripe and mashed (I save up my bananas as they go brown and freeze them until i have enough to make bread, thaw them in the microwave for a couple of minutes)
2 cups Sugar
3 Tbsp or 1 oz of Vegetable Oil (I prefer Canola)
1 Tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract (I prefer Moroccan)
3 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Iodized Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
2/3 cup Pecans, chopped (optional)
–Preheat Oven to 350 degrees Farenheit, oil the loaf pans or line the muffin pan with cups
–Puree the Persimmon and Cognac
–In large mixing bowl blend the puree with mashed Banana, sugar, Veg Oil and Vanilla until smooth.
–In medium mixing bowl sift together Flour, Salt, Baking Soda.
–In 3 steps add the flour mixture into the wet mixture and blend until just incorporated ( being careful not to overwork the gluten in the flour because this bread is more cake-like than chewy)
–Stir in the chopped Pecans leaving a little extra for the crust
–Pour in the loaf pans or muffin tins equally
–Muffins will cook 25-30 minutes
–Bread Loaves will cook 50-55 minutes
I hope you will enjoy this recipe in your home soon, it is an original recipe made with love from my kitchen. -Katie Bonzer