Recipe: David Lebovitz's Persimmon Bread

Persimmon bread is something that I look forward to making when it's persimmon season. My friend John introduced me to this boozy persimmon bread recipe from David Lebovitz  two years ago and I've been in love with it since.

A photo posted by Brenda Ton Linkous (@nerb) on

Patrick brought home a couple of boxes of beautiful sugary hachiya persimmons from work several weeks ago and they're ripening up so fast that we just can't keep up with the pace of consuming them all before they go bad. So, I scooped out the pulp of all the ripe hachiyas, used some to make this bread and stored the rest of them in individual containers to freeze. It's great because we now have hachiya pulp that we can enjoy year round without waiting for the next season to come - and without waiting for them to ripen up (which we all know takes forever). 

This persimmon bread is originally from James Beard, but adapted by David Lebovitz. The version I'm sharing below is how my friend John makes his, which incorporates two types of sugar and requires soaking of the dried fruits in orange juice overnight so it prevents the bread from drying out. The results - buttery and moist with just the right amount of booze. 

Persimmon Bread

Two 9-inch (23cm) Loaves

Using the higher amount of sugar will produce a moister and, of course, sweeter bread.

Adapted from David Lebovitz / Beard on Bread by James Beard

Ingredients: 

  • 3½ cups sifted flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 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 (I used Old Taylor bourbon)
  • 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) soaked in fresh orange juice over night

Directions: 

  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 350ºF (180ºC) 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.

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