Banana Persimmon Bread with Toasted Coconut

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Persimmons have always held a special place in my heart, but not because I grew up eating them or because they’re my favorite fruit. It’s because of poetry.

I was a Creative Writing major at Oberlin College in Ohio, with an emphasis on poetry. My favorite poet became so when he visited Oberlin and offered a reading of his work. Li-Young Lee and I share quite a bit in common. We are both Chinese Americans and children of Protestant ministers. We both share a bicultural upbringing and we both understand the beautiful intricacies of being in a biracial marriage. And of course, we both find ourselves in love with the written word.

It was Li-Young Lee’s poem Persimmons that taught me that life themes as vast as bloodline, culture, sexuality and mortality can all be delicately tied together by an object as simple, as ordinary as a piece of fruit.

But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself here.

My Dad likes to bring Fuyu persimmons over to my house for my kids. Each of them when they were really little, would call them “percinnamons.” Extremely cute and somewhat accurate since the fruit does seem to have a cinnamon-like speckling when cut open. Hachiya persimmons tend to be a less popular variety because of their bitter, moisture-sucking quality when eaten before fully ripe. These Hachiyas are the ones my neighbor has been bringing over since her father has a tree. I waited patiently for one of them to get ripe enough (it’s skin should be so soft and wrinkly that it almost looks rotten) and then added it into this delicious recipe. Even if your Hachiya isn’t fully ripe and still has a slightly bitter bite to it, the baking process will sweeten it right up.

The combination of banana and persimmon in this bread is simply beautiful. The toasted coconut on top puts it over the top. Every time I take a bite, I hear poetry.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance or other vegan butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup if you prefer a very sweet bread)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • one ripe Hachiya persimmon, skin peeled, center removed and mashed
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

Preheat your oven to 350.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the vegan butter and sugar using a handheld mixer. Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and combine well.

In another bowl, combine the mashed bananas, mashed persimmon, soy milk and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.

Pour into a greased bread pan and smooth the batter out into an even layer. Sprinkle the shredded coconut on top and then bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.

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Happy eating!

 

 

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