Whole Wheat Persimmon Bread

Sliced Persimmon Bread

Like most places around the country, autumn in California’s San Joaquin Valley is a beautiful time of year.  While we might not have as many vibrant colored leaves as other places, we do have fruit trees.  Pomegranates, persimmons, lemons – these are our fall colors.  Take a drive through the country or just about any older neighborhood and you’re bound to run across some of these beautiful trees with their red, orange, and yellow fruit.  Persimmon trees are my fall favorite.  The trees drop their leaves as the fruit ripens, leaving nothing but the spectacular glowing orange orbs – it’s quite a beautiful sight.


Persimmons are more than just autumn decorations; they are wonderful to bake with.  The persimmons I’m talking about today are the larger, acorn-shaped Hachiya variety.  Hachiya persimmons can be very astringent and not suitable for eating raw until they are very, very ripe.  But by the time they are ripe enough to eat, the flesh is gooey and gelatinous.  Because of this, I find that Hachiya persimmon pulp is better for baking than for eating raw (although some people do like to eat it with a spoon).  The smaller, squat variety of persimmon that has been showing up at more and more grocery stores lately is the Fuyu.  These can be eaten raw while they are still firm, and their mild sweet flavor makes them easy to love.

I usually bake cookies when I get my hands on some persimmons, but this year I decided to try something a little different.  I saw that David Lebovitz had written about a persimmon bread from James Beard’s book Beard on Bread. I happen to have an old battered copy of that book (it’s a year older than I am, actually), so I dug it out and looked at the recipe.  James Beard’s Persimmon Bread is a butter-rich quick bread filled with fruit, nuts, and booze.  It sounded great to me and seemed like a good way to use up some of the brandy that I bought for the Caramel Apple Pear Cake.

Persimmon Bread on Plate

The original recipe makes enough batter for two large loaves, but since I was afraid I would devour an entire large loaf myself, I decided to cut the recipe in half and bake it in three mini loaf pans. That way I could give two away, and eat one small loaf myself.  I have a big bag of mixed dried fruit that I bought for the Panettone I’m making next for The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, so I decided to use that instead of just plain raisins.  I also decided to use whole wheat pastry flour in place of all-purpose – I thought it would add a bit of extra flavor and nutrition.  The original recipe calls for mace as the main spice, but I used a combination of ground cinnamon and nutmeg.

A new thing I learned from Beard on Bread is that you can use the persimmon skin along with the pulp.  I have always peeled the fruit before making the puree, but this time I used the skin, too.  It was much easier and I liked the tiny flecks of orange that the skin added to the bread.  You must use very ripe Hachiya persimmons for the puree.  To ripen persimmons, just leave them sitting out at room temperature until they are very soft and feel like they are turning to liquid inside the skin.  As David Lebovitz says, a completely ripe Hachiya persimmon should feel like a water balloon about to burst.  To make the puree, just blend the persimmon pulp (and skin, if you like) until smooth.

Whole Wheat Persimmon Bread

1 cup chopped dried mixed fruit or raisins
1/3 cup brandy
1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (use freshly ground nutmeg, if possible)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup persimmon puree (from approximately 2 very ripe Hachiya persimmons)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preaheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter one 9×5-inch loaf pan or three mini loaf pans.

In a small bowl, stir together mixed fruit and brandy; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in melted butter, eggs, persimmon puree, brandy-fruit mixture, and chopped nuts.  Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.  Pour batter into a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan or divide between three mini loaf pans.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for one hour (40-45 minutes for mini loaves) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.  Store well-wrapped bread at room temperature for up to a week or freeze for longer storage.

Persimmon Bread in Pans

Related Recipes:

Hachiya Persimmon Recipes around the Web:

Fuyu Persimmon Recipes around the Web:

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  1. Joyti

    We do have a lovely variety of squash, citruses, persimmons, pomegranates, and other jewel-toned goodies in our farms and markets out here in California, don’t we? Its wonderful.
    And the persimmon bread sounds amazing. I’ve not experimented much with persimmons, but this sounds like a great way to go.

    5:26 pm  Nov 22nd, 2010
  2. moowiesqrd

    Yeah, I had a handful of Fuyus that were as soft as Hachiyas and I needed to do something with them or throw them out. Saw David’s post and halved the recipe, too… except I forgot to halve the butter or eggs! Turned out to be one of those things that should have been disastrous, but ended up turning out great. Great call on the whole wheat flour… with all of the holiday eating, I think any reason to make it healthier helps. See you at Food Blog Camp! It’s been a while since we met at Eclipse Chocolat!

    5:36 pm  Nov 22nd, 2010
  3. Adie

    will normal whole wheat flour do? but i think that will make the bread really hard and chewy, so a mixture of whole+white flour?

    5:39 pm  Nov 22nd, 2010
  4. nancy@skinnykitchen

    I love persimmons…What a great idea to add them to a quick bread!

    7:45 pm  Nov 22nd, 2010
  5. Charles G Thompson

    Thanks for the tip about the Beard book which I have. I stood in front of the persimmon display while shopping today pondering buying some – now I will have to! Happy Thanksgiving.

    8:29 pm  Nov 22nd, 2010
  6. Ali @ Gimme Some Oven

    Beautiful! I love the orange flecks, too!

    8:56 pm  Nov 22nd, 2010
  7. the blissful baker

    what a unique quick bread! it looks delicious. i have a bunch of fuyus in the fridge that i’ve been snacking the past week. i need to get my hand on some hachiyas though, so i can make a loaf of this bread!

    10:32 pm  Nov 22nd, 2010
  8. Kalynskitchen

    Oh wow, does that ever look delicious. I was just introduced to persimmons last year when Andrea of Rookie Cookie sent me a box of them, and I had so much fun experimenting with them!

    7:06 am  Nov 23rd, 2010
  9. Rachel

    Persimmons are my favorite fall fruit. They seem to rare and hard to come by that any persimmon purchase I make is treasured!
    Looks like it’s worth patiently waiting for fruit to ripen to make this bread! It’s beautiful! Great tip on the water balloon feel – now I know what to wait for.

    3:05 pm  Nov 23rd, 2010
  10. Erika - In Erika's Kitchen

    Looks fantastic – can’t wait to try it! I’m still in my experimental stages with persimmons. Glad to have another recipe to try.

    5:31 pm  Nov 23rd, 2010
  11. Olga @ MangoTomato

    it looks sweet, dense and healthy all at the same time! Yum. I wish I had friends with persimmon trees 🙂

    7:44 pm  Nov 23rd, 2010
  12. Lori4squaremom

    I am so excited to have found your recipe! As well as your blog. I live in Visalia, and also love to cook for friends and family, and nourish their hearts, souls, bodies and tummy’s 🙂 with good local wholesome foods. I am very excited to try your bread today and am going to serve it tomorrow (for Thanksgiving) with a slightly sweetened cream cheese spread.

    I was wondering though, you have the dried fruit mentioned twice in your ingredient list, but only once in your directions. Are you using 1 cup or 2 cups of dried fruit?

    I posted my grandmother’s persimmon cookie recipe (that I tweaked 10 years ago using natural sweeteners and whole wheat pastry flour), if you are interested in seein git for another use for those WONDERFUL persimmons.

    11:37 am  Nov 24th, 2010
  13. Julie

    i just happened upon your blog. I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley. Now I live in Colorado and the thing I miss most about the Valley is the produce, hands down. I love your blog! I feel like it brings me a piece of home!

    11:08 am  Nov 25th, 2010
  14. Alelunetta

    bellissimi e molto originali! never tasted a persimmon bread, should be delicious! I’m going to buy some persimmons to make it!!!!! 🙂

    6:54 am  Nov 28th, 2010
  15. Nicole

    Lori4squaremom: I’m sorry about the mistake on the ingredients list! There should only be one cup of dried fruit added to the bread (adding more won’t hurt, but I only intended to call for one cup). I’ve fixed it now. Thanks so much for pointing it out! -Nicole

    12:52 pm  Nov 29th, 2010
  16. Karin @yum and more

    oooohhhh just found this – looks fab – is on my list for soon…….yuuuummm

    2:42 pm  Dec 10th, 2010
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