I was going to make a salad with the persimmons that came in the box today. Their crunchy texture and subtle sugar is perfect blended with a salty blue cheese, a bit of ripe pear and some fresh arugula. Instead I decided to try something I’d never done, but had read a lot about – baking with them. Persimmon’s mellow sugars seemed perfect for a muffin or sweet bread. I came across a recipe from Cooking Light that used both the Fuyu variety as well as the softer Hachiya.

Since I didn’t have any Hachiya’s and I did have a couple of ripe pears around, I decided to substitute pears for this variety of persimmon, honey for the agave nectar and instead of fat-free yogurt – I mean really, fat-free yogurt? – I substituted some Grace Harbor full-cream honey yogurt, which is awesome. The cranberries seemed like a good fit and I had some pecans around that just happened to be enough.

Persimmons are another one of those over-looked fall fruits. Although native to the United States, the most commonly grown varieties are of Japanese descent. With slow sugars that don’t ripen until October they are perfect for muffins and breads as well as great in salads and chutneys. Although this recipe was originally for muffins I like the small loaf pans better. That way each person can take as big or as small a slice as they like. Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dessert. Enjoy!

Adapted from Cooking Light

3/4  cup  chopped pecans, divided
1 1/4 cups  all-purpose flour
1 cup  whole-wheat flour
1/2  cup  packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2  teaspoons  baking soda
1  teaspoon  salt
1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
1/2  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
1/8  teaspoon  ground cloves
1  cup  plain fat-free yogurt
1/3  cup  ripe pears, finely diced
1/3  cup  honey
1/4  cup  canola oil
2  teaspoons  grated peeled fresh ginger
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
2  large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2  cup  diced peeled Fuyu persimmon
1/2  cup  dried cranberries
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375°. Place 1/2 cup pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 8 minutes or until pecans are fragrant and toasted. Cool. Coat two bread baking tins with vegetable spray.

In a large bowl, combine flours and next 6 ingredients (through cloves) , stir well. In another bowl, combine yogurt and next 6 ingredients (through eggs), mix well using a whisk. Fold in egg mixture to flour mixture. Fold in Fuyu persimmon, cranberries, and toasted pecans. Spoon batter into tins. Sprinkle tops with remaining 1/4 cup pecans.

Bake at 375° for 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes on a wire rack, and remove from pans.

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