This sticky, sweet loaf is adapted from David Lebovitz’s adaptation of a James Beard recipe. Cognac here instead of milk? It’s dairy-free!
The persimmons should be so soft you feel they might burst in your hand, the skin translucent and a deep orange. Don’t be tempted to use them if they’re at all firm — the flesh will be mouth-puckeringly tannic.
Some notes: Be warned that there’s a lot of chopping involved. That simple list of ingredients is in many cases a series of instructions for each ingredient (e.g., nuts, toasted and chopped). Toast nuts on a tray in a 350’F oven, or on the stovetop, stirring frequently, until lightly golden. If you want a truly lactose-free loaf, substitute a dairy-free baking margarine, such as Earth Balance, for the butter. Finally, brandy or Irish whiskey can also be substituted for the cognac.
For two 9-inch loaves
- 3 cups sifted all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup minus 2 tablespoons cognac
- 2 tablespoons Cointreau or other orange liqueur
- 2 cups persimmon puree (from 4-6 very soft, Hachiya-type persimmons)
- 1½ cups pecans, toasted, cooled, and chopped
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed, and chopped
- 2 cups dried fruit: about 10 diced large dates; 1-2 tablespoons diced crystallized ginger; dried apple rings, finely chopped, to bring total dried fruit to 2 cups.
1. Grease 2 loaf pans with oil or butter and dust with flour, tapping out any excess. If your pan has sharp edges, line the base and sides with parchment paper, too.
2. Preheat oven to 350′ degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Sift the flour and baking soda into a large mixing bowl. Add nutmeg, salt, flax seeds, almond flour and sugar and combine well.
4. Beat the butter, eggs, cognac, Cointreau and persimmon pulp in a medium bowl until well combined. The mixture may looked curdled; this is just the butter distributed with the pulp and egg and is not a problem. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Mix by hand with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add the chopped nuts and dried fruit. Mix by hand until wet and dry ingredients are just combined.
5. Divide batter between two tins and bake 60-80 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Be prepared to cover breads with foil if the tops start to darken. Cool loaves on a wire rack until no longer hot to the touch. Invert tins and gently shake out loaves, setting them onto rack to cool completely.
Apparently this keeps a week, covered and out of the refrigerator and can also be frozen. It never lasts that long at our place.
Adapted from Beard on Bread by James Beard