persimmon bread with cranberries

this recipe came up just in time for one of the best persimmon crops we’ve ever had.  last year was such a disappointment because there just wasn’t any fruit on our tree or any of the other trees nearby.  when we started finding the ripe fruits on the ground last week, we were surprised; our first frost is still several weeks away.  we can only assume that the early spring and the month long drought had something to do with them ripening so early.

lucky for me, this weeks baking challenge for tuesdays with dorie/baking with julia is a loaf of bread that calls for pumpkin puree.  with all of these persimmons just begging to be run through the food mill, i couldn’t help but substitute the persimmon pulp for the pumpkin puree called for in the recipe!

native persimmons are small, about the size of a walnut in its shell or smaller.  they are also full of large seeds.  they can only be eaten if they are dark orange and squishy soft otherwise, they are so astringent you will literally feel the insides of your cheeks seal onto the surface of your teeth.  the best thing to do with them is to wash the fruit you find on the ground under the tree-those will be so ripe that they have fallen from the branches.  drain the fruit and run it through a food mill, it will take a lot to get any kind of volume.  i collect them through the season, puree the fruit and store it in sandwich bags in the freezer.  then i can take it out and thaw it as i need to.

as with any heavy, sweet dough, this one took a long time-easily double the time called for in the directions.  it took at least 8 hours to come to 64 degrees and about 3 hours for the loaves to rise in the pans.  honestly, they didn’t do much in the oven.  it seems to me that there is just too much in there to make it light and rise quickly.

 i didn’t have any small pans so i used two 8x5x3 loaves.  they baked up in about 45-50 minutes, i used a thermometer and waited until the internal temp came up to 200 degrees.

this cheery loaf of bread brightened up a dark and dreary, rainy monday.  it was so dark that i couldn’t get a nice color balance in the photo, my bread isn’t nearly that orange!

special thanks to our hostess with the mostess, rebecca of this bountiful backyard!  bake on, may the force be with you…

maple-walnut upside down persimmon cake

on a recent trip out to the garden, this cake accompanied me and was shared among my fellow gardeners.  it is a simple cake that can be made with sweet potato or pumpkin puree if you do not have access to persimmons.  for those of you that have persimmon trees in your yards, be sure to wait until that first frost of fall to gather the fruits.  then after washing them, run them through a food mill to extract the seeds and freeze the puree in sandwich sized zipper bags to make it easy to use in recipes.

the maple syrup is heated with the butter and brown sugar.  when the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, allow it to boil a bit and then pour it into a greased cake pan.

top the glaze mixture with the walnuts, try not to go all the way to the edge of the pan to keep the nuts on the top of the cake-i didn’t do a very good job of that!

persimmon puree looks a lot like sweet potatoes or pumpkin and if you can’t find persimmons, both make a suitable substitute.

using the typical creaming method, this batter mixes up quickly.  after creaming the butter and sugar, the eggs are added.  once the eggs are in, sift the dry ingredients over the batter.  fold it a few times and then sprinkle the buttermilk all over the top and fold it completely until no streaks remain:

so easy!!!

the tough part-spreading the batter over the nuts without moving them.  be sure to allow the cake to sit for about 5-10 minutes before turning it out otherwise, the glaze and the nuts will not coat the top of the cake evenly.

maple-walnut upside down persimmon cake
1 (8″) cake serving 6-8
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup-preferably grade b
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
preheat the oven to 350.  grease an 8″ cake pan and set it aside.  place the butter in a small sauté pan over low heat and melt.  add the maple syrup, light brown sugar and the cinnamon and stir until the brown sugar is dissolved.  raise the heat to medium and bring to a boil.  allow the mixture to boil for a minute and then pour into the prepared cake pan
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 egg
1/3 cup persimmon puree
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup buttermilk
in a mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar with the vanilla and salt.  when light and fluffy, add the egg and combine completely.  add the persimmon puree and mix in making sure to scrape the bowl well as you go.  sift the flour and baking powder over the batter and fold it in a few times.  sprinkle the buttermilk over the batter and fold it together until smooth.  spread it evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan.  bake until a tester inserted comes out clean,  about 35-40 minutes.  cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes and then place a serving dish that is larger than the cake pan over the top and invert the cake onto the plate-this will catch any drips.  allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.  and for the particularly evil-serve it with some ice cream!  buttermilk ice cream comes to mind…
bake on friends and may the force be with you.

and today’s clues are…

our neighbors know better than to ask. they just quietly watch and wonder until we realize that we have an audience and begin explaining ourselves. one fall day, we discovered that our persimmon tree had a load of ripe fruit on it. there were lots of them on the ground but we could see all of the little fruits hanging on the branches and we wanted them…onto the ground went a large sheet and out of the tool box came a mallet. darry began hammering the trunk of the tree and as the fruit fell onto the sheet, i collected it in a bucket. it was a strange sight. i will admit if i was the one watching, i would wonder what was going on. but it wasn’t me watching, it was my neighbor and he was rather concerned. it seems that he thought darry was using that mallet on me, on my head specifically. from his vantage point it looked that way and when he came over to check on me, we all had a good laugh.
a southern baking book would not be complete without at least one good recipe for a persimmon dessert. since pie and pudding seemed so obvious, i decided to combine it with a few of my favorite things; caramel, pecans and warm cake.
warm caramel glaze with a generous helping of pecan pieces will form the glaze and the top the cake as it is unmolded.
since my supply of persimmon puree was a little thin, i decided to test recipes with sweet potatoes and only use the persimmon puree for the final test. the top is sweet potato and the bottom is persimmon puree.
josie was thoroughly unimpressed with the whole thing and she wasn’t too crazy about today’s musical selections either.

twitch was taking notes for me

the finished cake, warm from the oven and unmolded onto a large plate

a little kitty porn…ginger loves to roll over and show her belly