Persimmon Bread with Nuts and Fruit

5 from 5 votes
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I am not an expert baker. But you don’t need to be to make this persimmon bread.

I love easy quick breads, breads where exactitude isn’t needed, and where you can play a bit with ingredients. Baking can be, well, persnickety, and in general I am too loose a cook to do it well. Especially pastry. But this sweet bread is right up my alley.

A slice of persimmon bread on a plate with a persimmon nearby
Photo by Hank Shaw

It is essentially James Beard’s walnut persimmon bread, from his classic book Beard On Bread. But I omitted the huge amount of brandy he adds — feel free to add up to 2/3 of a cup if you’d like — and made this recipe a bit wilder. I am, after all, a gatherer.

The persimmons were, er, “foraged” from my neighbor’s backyard tree; we don’t have Diospyros virginiana, the native American persimmon, here in the West. That is the best persimmon for making persimmon bread, in my opinion.

In this case, I used over-ripe fuyu, as well as perfectly ripe hachiya persimmons here, Japanese varieties widely available in California. I’d say hachiya are the second best persimmon for bread.

The nuts are the last of the wild hickory nuts I gathered from my travels back East. Wild black walnuts are another good option, as are pecans or butternuts, both wild or cultivated.

The fruit? Dried wild lingonberries from, well… if I told you I’d have to kill you. Any dried fruit works. “Craisins” are a great option, as are dried blueberries.

A slice of persimmon bread on a plate
Photo by Hank Shaw

I also added homemade acorn flour to the bread, which adds an earthy touch and darkens the bread a bit. Chestnut flour, available in Italian markets, is the closest to this, but don’t get all hung on on making persimmon bread with acorn flour. It’s just me being me. Go ahead and use a little whole wheat, spelt, barley or rye flour.

As if this persimmon bread wasn’t weird enough, I subbed in wild, fresh rendered duck fat for half the butter. Yeah, I went there. It was good. And I am shiny-happy. Feel free to use all butter if you want. It’s also fantastic.

Net result? An addictive breakfast bread or accompaniment to coffee, or duck blind snack, in the deer stand or wherever.

Make this persimmon bread. It’s super easy, malleable to your ingredients, and it would make that icon of real American cooking, the late, great James Beard, a proud man.

This bread is all about autumn, as is my butternut squash bread, but if you’re looking for a late-summer option, fig bread is what I make when our fig tree goes bonkers.

A slice of persimmon bread on a plate with a persimmon nearby
5 from 5 votes

Persimmon Bread with Nuts and Fruit

There are plenty of ways to freestyle with this bread. You can use American persimmons, or Japanese hachiya persimmons, both of which need to be gooshy before you can really eat them -- otherwise they are astringent. As for the fruits and nuts, I prefer either black walnuts or hickory nuts, but regular walnuts or pecans are also nice. I happen to have lots of dried lingonberries lying around, so I used them. They can be tough to find, though, so "craisins," the dried cranberries you can buy, will get you close. But really any dried fruit works. If they are large, like apricots or dates, chop them small.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 20 servings
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup acorn flour, chestnut flour, or whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg or mace
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup duck fat or leaf lard, melted and cooled
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 cups persimmon puree
  • 2 cups chopped nuts (walnuts, hickory nuts, pecans)
  • 2 cups dried fruit (raisins, lingonberries, cranberries, etc)

Instructions 

  • Prep the pans. Butter two 9-inch loaf pans and then dust them with a little flour, shaking out any excess. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flours, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and sugar.
  • Mix the wet ingredients. Whisk together the cooled, melted butter and duck fat, the persimmon puree and the eggs.
  • Make the batter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together. As you are doing this, add the nuts and fruit. Pour the batter into the loaf pans and bake for about 1 hour, until a toothpick comes out of the bread clean. Let rest a few minutes, then turn out gently onto cooling racks.

Notes

This bread keeps wonderfully. At least a week at room temperature, wrapped up, and basically forever in the freezer.

Nutrition

Calories: 371kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 298mg | Potassium: 188mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 189IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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4 Comments

  1. Hello Hank~ I used your recipe, came out great. A bit sweeter than I expected. Nutmeggie. But when is nutmeg not nutmeggie? I used smelt for my alternative half cup. And no duck fat. That never was an option for me. I almost used ghee but no,. I used coconut oil. Thanks Hank

  2. I live up in Grass Valley, CA, and have a bunch of Native Persimmon trees if you’re ever interested in foraging some for persimmon bread!

  3. Hello Hank, I agree american persimmon is better for this, there are hybrid persimmon’s of japanese x american now available. the size of asians with the texture, high sugar/ flavors and hardiness of americans. England’s Orchard and Nursery in McKee, KY carries many types, maybe they can connect you with some of the fruit. Regards

  4. Thanks so much for this recipe!
    Persimmons are ripe in my South Australian home garden, and i have saved some from the birds this year. Now I can use them properly!
    Peta