This time of year, you’re likely to spot little orange globes at the farmers markets and vegetables stands next to the oranges like satsumas and bloods. Looking like a cross between a tomato and an orange, persimmons have lovely tannic flavor that does beautifully in some savory foods and even better in sweet preparations. Last year we made a ton of persimmon curd that we spread on everything from cookies to toast to eating greedily out of the jar while standing in front of the fridge. This year, we picked up a few at the Heart of the City farmers market between Christmas and New Years intending to use them up in holiday gifts. We never quite got around to doing that so this week we really needed to use them up. We made more curd but still had a few persimmons left over.
So we started researching recipes and settled on a persimmon bread recipe from Epicurious that pulled out the stops in terms of comforting foods. As is often the case, we made the recipe ours a little bit by swapping meyer lemon zest for the orange zest in the recipe, using five spice powder in place of just cinnamon, and we also added a ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract on a whim. We were very pleased with the dense and moist cake like bread that was the result. It was delicious right out of the oven with butter but it made us dizzy with pleasure with the curd. We even sprinkled some left over ground hazelnuts on top for a really satisfying crunch before it dawned on us that we had intended to share this with others and needed to stop eating it all.
Make sure your persimmons are ripe here. They should be so soft that they feel like they’ll explode if you squeeze too hard. If yours are under ripe, place them in a plastic bag with an apple on a sunny windowsill for a few days and they’ll ripen faster.
This article also appears at http://www.examiner.com/food-in-san-fra