Tis the season for my friend Lia’s persimmon tree, filled to the brim with hundreds of persimmon in need of a home…or a few dozen bellies. This has been a favorite recipe of her’s for many years, and two years ago I opted to try it with a gluten free garbanzo bean flour. It was very tasty, mind you, but this year, since I am on the ‘grinding my own flour’ kick, I decided to give farro a try. WOW! It sure is tasty! It has been a big hit at parties, especially Thanksgiving. My boss at work calls it my ‘Medicinal Bread,’ since it has freshly ground farro and wild yeast (chock full of lactobacillus), in lieu of the baking soda…I am just over that stuff and I want that wild fermented goo to get in there whenever possible!
The recipe itself was created by no one other than one of the most famous chefs/bakers, Mr. James Beard. And he is not shy on sugar or butter or bourbon, and trust me, it is all well worth it. Of course, I should add that it certainly is more healthy to use organic grass fed butter and cage-free eggs and organic sugar, but at the end of the day, it always ends up heavenly. Your family and friends will love you even more for it and be asking for seconds! The only one alteration I make is to the sugar and the types of persimmon…I half the amount of sugar bc the persimmon are already sweet enough and I like the nuttiness of the farro flour to shine through and I also use ‘Fuyu’ persimmon (No, I am not cursing at you!). Fuyu’s are the short, squat ones that are crispier and less squishy than their distant relative, the Hachiya. Those tend to be chalky tasting, and as a friend of mine says, they tend to leave you ‘devoid of all moisture in your mouth.’ We can’t have that now, can we?!
Ok, let’s get to the recipe. ENJOY!! And let me know how it ends up!
Two 9-inch Loaves
Using the higher amount of sugar will produce a moister and, of course, sweeter bread.
Adapted from Beard on Bread by James Beard.
3½ cups sifted flour (ground farro or other favorite)
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon baking soda (or 1 teaspoon sourdough wild yeast starter, if you have it)
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 to 2½ cups sugar (your call)
1 cup melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2/3 cup Cognac, bourbon or whiskey
2 cups persimmon puree (from about 4 squishy-soft Hachiya persimmons)
2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
2 cups raisins, or diced dried fruits (such as apricots, cranberries, or dates)
1. Butter 2 loaf pans. Line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper or dust with flour and tap out any excess.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Sift the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
4. Make a well in the center then stir in the butter, eggs, liquor, persimmon puree then the nuts and raisins.
5. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Storage: Will keep for about a week, if well-wrapped, at room temperature. The Persimmon Breads take well to being frozen, too.