28 November 2016

Persimmon Date Walnut Bread

It's fall! Today it really feels like it; the temperature in Istanbul dropped about 10 (Celsius) degrees overnight. So now it's cold and grey but cold fall weather means fall baking! Fall also means persimmons which I love.

Homemade orange blossom water from Lebanon!

We only get one kind of persimmon here, the hachiya persimmon. For me the trickiest part about working with these persimmons is making sure to not smash them while getting them home! Hachiya persimmons aren't at their full ripeness until they're so soft they feel like they've rotted.

Thank goodness this recipe calls for persimmon puree because there's no way a fruit this soft and delicate is getting sliced nicely! Other than chopping the dates this was a super fast and easy recipe. I ended up using mini loaf pans to bake it and shared it around with my friends-I think this is the most popular thing I've ever made! Everyone went nuts for it. It is really good; it tastes like autumn.

Pitting and chopping the dates takes forever, they're so blasted sticky. Between that and the molasses I'm not sure I'll ever de-stick my counter. Brown sugar as we know it in America doesn't exist here so I have to make my own; which I can do thanks to the gift of molasses from a friend in Germany (as regular molasses also doesn't exist here) and the food processor E&M lent me that I kind of never returned. Oops.

The other great thing about fall baking? It warms up the apartment! My building has central heat which is annoying on several levels but it only works in two rooms and the window in my kitchen doesn't quite close so it's always cold in there.

Between the bread's resounding popularity, how blasted easy it is to make, and the warm and cozy feeling I get with the baking aromas wafting out of the oven...yeah I'll be making this again!

Persimmon Date Walnut Bread (adapted from The Little Epicurean)
Makes one 9 inch loaf pan or five mini loaves

3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fleur de sal*
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
several dashes of ground clove
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla (I used Tahitian)
4 eggs, room temp and slightly beaten
1/4 cup orange blossom water*
2 cups persimmon puree (about 4 hachiya persimmons)
2 cups toasted, chopped walnuts
2 cups chopped dates


1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Whisk together all the dry ingredients (flour, salts, baking powder, cinnamon, clove, and sugars).
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the melted butter, beaten eggs, and persimmon puree. Whisk until combined. Fold in the walnuts and dates.
4. Pour into greased loaf pan(s) and bake for about 45-50 minutes.

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