Just before Christmas the sun came out just long enough for me to run out to the persimmon tree, still dripping with rain, and harvest some fruit before the birds could eat them all.
Actually, the tree is so tall I could never get to the top so the birds might as well enjoy those ones. I love the way the bright orange of the persimmons contrasts with the bright blue winter sky.
I picked a large bowl while the neighbor cat watched the fruit wildly swinging in the tree each time I would pull one off. She is a crazy cat. She loves when the fruit falls and she chases them, picks them up and drags them next door to her happy mistress who loves persimmons.
I left the bowl of fruit to ripen on the counter and got ready to head south to visit family. These were crisp, ripe and juicy for eating but I wanted to make persimmon bread with them and for that they need to be super soft and mushy. By the time I got back they were just right for mashing and baking.
These are the Fuyu variety of persimmons which can be eaten while still hard and crispy but I am more used to baking with the Hachiya variety which cannot be eaten until it is soft as it is bitter and mouth puckering when still crisp. However, if you wait for the Fuyu to get really soft they work just as well and there isn't a taste difference in the bread. It was too bad the fruit wasn't ripe enough to bake with before Christmas. When I got to my cousin's house she told me about all the fond memories she had from eating persimmon bread, especially with vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two slices. Yum! As a New Years Eve celebration, I baked persimmon bread. Today I went and got vanilla bean ice cream for it even though it has been freezing and raining!
So here is the family recipe I promised I get to my cousin so she could make some more memories with her family.
Cream together: 1 Cup shortening (I have always used butter)
2 Cups sugar
Beat in: 2 eggs
Add: 2 Cups persimmon pulp
Sift and add: 3 1/2 Cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
Add: 2 Cups raisins or dates
2 Cups chopped nuts
(I prefer my bread without nuts or raisins)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two loaf pans and fill with batter. Bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Test by inserting toothpick in center of bread. Bread is done when the toothpick comes out clean.
Sorry I don't have a picture for the bread and ice cream. I am too cold after eating it to get out the camera!