Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Persimmon Cranberry Tea Bread (Vegan)


Persimmons and cranberries look like colorful jewels in these golden-colored little loaves. These make lovely gifts for neighbors, hosts, teachers and more during the holiday season. You can freeze them and thaw for gift-giving, or as a treat for your own holiday table.

Persimmons are one of my favorite California fruits and they’re plentiful and inexpensive. If you don’t have them near you, you can substitute apples or pears. I made one batch pairing persimmons with cranberries, with just a bit of candied orange peel, and a second batch with sweet potatoes instead of berries.


I’m baking vegan, nut-free loaves to minimize any awkward gift-giving issues. Don’t let the V-word scare you! These treats are perfectly tasty, though I admit they’re a little more crumbly than they would be with egg. You can substitute butter and egg for the vegan alternatives in the recipe if you prefer.

This is riffing off Mark Bittman’s master recipe for quick bread made with almost any fruit or vegetable. It’s a terrifically versatile recipe, much like buttermilk quick bread. You can tinker with fruit, veggies, and mix-ins as you like, and bake a full-size loaf, mini loaves, or muffins to brighten a wintry morning. If cranberries aren't your thing, try the sweet potato variation.


Persimmon Cranberry Tea Bread

Based on Mark Bittman’s Fruit-and-Nut or Vegetable-and-Nut Bread. To make the flaxseed egg replacer, blend 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons water, and let sit 5 to 10 minutes until gelled. 

4 tablespoons Earth Balance spread, or butter, chilled
1 cup white whole wheat flour, or all-purpose flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cardamom or cinnamon
3/4 cup apple or orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange or lemon zest
flaxseed egg replacer equivalent to 1 egg (see note), or 1 egg
1/2 cup persimmon, peeled and diced
1/2 cup cranberries, chopped
optional extras: ½ cup chopped nuts, raisins, or other dried fruit (crystallized ginger would be tasty too)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three mini loaf pans or a 9x5-inch loaf pan.

Combine dry ingredients — flour through spices — in a bowl, then cut in Earth Balance until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (I do this in a food processor, pulsing it a few times. Or you can rub the spread in with your fingers until no large lumps remain.)

In another bowl, blend the juice, zest, and flaxseed egg replacer. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened — don’t overmix. Fold in the fruit and any extras.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake about 40 minutes for mini loaves or an hour for a full-size loaf, until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool before removing from the pan.

Persimmon and Sweet Potato Tea Bread: Substitute ½ cup grated, raw, peeled sweet potato for the cranberries, and ½ teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon for the cardamom.

Muffins: Bake at 400°F for 20 to 30 minutes.

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