Back home in Pennsylvania, each fall brought my family large bags of zucchini. In Japan, zucchini is expensive, but this time of year brings us somewhat lesser-sized bags of free persimmons. Even if our acquaintances here don't have trees of their own, relatives who live further afield send them boxes of the fruit and they can't possibly eat it all themselves so they share with us. This is always a very delightful experience for me since I love persimmons, but I often cannot eat them fast enough before they go bad.
The answer to the problem is persimmon bread, which I have made before but never in a sugar-free whole wheat version. Fortunately, persimmons can substitute very well for unsweetened applesauce so it was easy to formulate a recipe that worked on the first attempt. The result is a lightly sweet, surprisingly moist bread with a quite mild persimmon taste. In fact, I'd guess that even people who aren't fond of persimmons would enjoy this bread much as people who don't love zucchini can find eating a quick bread made with that vegetable enjoyable.
I found that one persimmon of relatively "average" size yielded about 3/4 cup of puree, though your results may vary if you have smaller or larger fruit. To prepare the puree, you just peel and de-seed the persimmon (if yours have seeds, mine did not) and run them in a food processor until liquefied. I will be freezing a lot of puree as my persimmons start to go soft. In fact, I may try subbing persimmons for applesauce in some recipes if I have the time to experiment and any ideas for complimentary flavors.
In this recipe, I used walnuts, but you can leave them out if you don't like nuts in your quick breads. It will also save you 50 calories per slice if you omit the walnuts. That being said, walnuts carry some good nutritional benefits and the small amount of calories is worth adding in the consumption of a bit of healthy fat.
Note that I did not eat this bread when fresh, but after it had sat overnight. It was incredibly moist and I think no one would know it was sugar-free or reduced fat from the texture, though the fact that it is whole wheat and a little heavier is pretty clear. You can make this into 6 or 8 servings, but I prefer 6 because this is a small loaf. One slice with margarine or butter makes a lovely breakfast with coffee or tea.
Persimmon bread (sugar-free, low-fat, whole wheat):
3/4 cup persimmon puree
1 medium egg
1/3 cup skim milk + 1/2 tbsp. rice vinegar (or any mild-flavored vinegar)
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup Splenda granular
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1.6 oz./45 grams walnuts (about 22 halves), roughly chopped
- Add the vinegar to the milk, stir, and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes.
- Whisk the persimmon puree, egg, milk with vinegar, oil, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and Splenda together until smooth.
- Sprinkle the flour over the liquid mixture and stir just to moisten. Allow the batter to rest for about 15 minutes.
- While the batter is resting, grease and flour (or use cooking spray on) a loaf pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees F./180 degrees C.
- Sprinkle the baking powder over the batter and add the chopped walnuts. Stir until the baking powder is well-blended but do not overmix or the bread will be tough.
- Spread the batter evenly into the loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes. The bread is done when a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.