Hachiya persimmons are complicated fruits to love. Horribly astringent when firm, they don’t sweeten up until they’ve softened to the point that the merest touch splits their skins and spills out their pulp. Sometimes all over your counter, fruit bowl, or floor.
They’re sweet, juicy messes. I usually eat them over the sink, or smash them onto pancakes instead of syrup. And when one of our neighbors said she had picked 80 pounds of Hachiya persimmons and did anyone want any, I collected a basketful, distributed some to other friends and neighbors, and then started looking for a good recipe for persimmon bread.
(If you have too many ripe Hachiya persimmons to use all at once, you can squeeze out the pulp and freeze it. If you measure it out first and freeze 1 cup of pulp per bag or container, your life will be much simpler down the line.)
I followed Martha Rose Shulman’s recipe for Persimmon Spice Bread, available on the NYT Cooking archive.
And when I say that I “followed” the recipe, I mean that I replaced the almond flour (which I didn’t have) with whole wheat flour, and left out the raisins (which I don’t like) and walnuts (which a guest was allergic to) and allspice (didn’t have any), and I substituted lactose-free kefir for the buttermilk, and I screwed up and instead of beating the eggs and sugar together and then adding the butter, I beat the butter and sugar together and then added the eggs, and instead of vanilla extract I used Bitter Queens Tobacco Bitters, and I added two tablespoons of bourbon, though I think next time I’ll add a little more.
Mine was good, but you’ll probably get even better results if you follow the directions. (And add bourbon.)
If you’re not sure if you have a Hachiya persimmon or a Fuyu, look at the shape. The Fuyu is squatter, more tomato-shaped. It’s also much less astringent, and you can eat it while it’s firm, like an apple. Don’t try that with a Hachiya.