gluten & dairy-free chocolate persimmon loaf recipe


A friend kindly gave us two bags of persimmons the other day from her tree. We love persimmons in this house and are never ones to pass up free fruit, so were pretty excited to get them home and dig in. The kids could barely let me get in the door before they had started tearing at the bags and I quickly had a few firm ones peeled and on plates ready to be eaten. Now, I've only ever eaten the non-astringent variety before, you know those ones that you can eat while still firm and are eaten like an apple? Well, it turns out these ones we were digging into are the other kind. You know, the astringent-make-your-tongue-feel-like-it's-swelling-up-and-sticking-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth-unless-really-soft-kind? The kids got quite a shock, hehe. Oops. I put back all the nice firm ones that I'd picked out and instead grabbed the soft, squishy, balloon-like ones to eat, the ones I had thought would end up in the compost. This was a first for me as all the persimmons we've ever had in the past are long gone before any reached such squishiness. But I gotta say, they're really quite amazing!

As mentioned above persimmons fall into two categories, astringent and non-astringent. Back in the day nearly all available fruit were of the astringent variety, but they are rarely seen nowadays and certainly not that commonly seen at your local fruit and vege store. Mostly you are likely to come across the non-astringent variety, which can be sliced and eaten when firm, or added to salads, cooked with or dried. The astringent variety have a high tannin content which makes the firm fruit virtually inedible, and if you have ever eaten them you'll know exactly what I'm talking about! It's such a crazy sensation in your mouth and best avoided at all costs! Instead leave the fruit to ripen fully at room temperature and soften to the point when you are sure the fruit is just about to burst! They are perfect to eat when the insides have turned jelly-like, sweet and juicy.

It is usually these astringent type that are favoured in cooking for their lovely soft texture and beautiful pulp, so I set aside a handful of ripe ones to make this loaf filled with warming spices and flecked with chunks of rich dark chocolate and jelly-like persimmon. Can you actually taste the persimmon, you ask? Well, no you can't. But what they do add is an amazing natural sweetness and a texture one can only describe as incredibly moist, but light and springy to the touch. This is the kind of loaf that begs to be eaten while still slightly warm from the oven, with the chocolate still melted in little puddles. But it's also equally as moreish served cold, and thickly sliced with a cup of fruity herb tea.

Inspired by this recipe.

gluten & dairy-free chocolate persimmon loaf
It's best to get your hands on the astringent persimmon variety (such as Hachiya) for this recipe, which are left until completely soft and jelly-like before eating. Although I have read that if you only have the non-astringent variety, you can place these in the freezer whole, overnight, then defrost and you will get the same super-soft texture you are after in the pulp for baking, or simply leave them in your fruit bowl until really, really soft. I used coconut milk, but any dairy-free milk will be fine, almond or rice milk would be my next choices. And the chocolate I used was Whittaker's Dark Ghana 72%. See my notes below the recipe for how I remove the persimmon pulp 🙂
makes 2 small loaves

  • 2 cups (astringent) persimmon pulp (from around 4-8 persimmons depending on their size)*
  • 3/4 cup (185ml) coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) rice bran oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (70g) buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup (60g) fine brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup (55g) almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) organic raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (65g) roughly chopped dark chocolate (dairy-free)

Preheat oven to 190 C/375 F. Grease two 22 x 11cm loaf tins and line with a strip of baking paper that covers the base and comes up over the sides by about 2cm.

Combine coconut milk and lemon juice in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Add eggs, oil and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth.

Sieve dry ingredients (except for the chocolate!) into a large bowl, tipping any sugar that's left in the sieve back into the bowl. Add the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Add persimmon pulp and chopped chocolate and stir gently until just combined. Pour evenly into the two loaf tins and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Remove from oven and cool in tins for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Keeps airtight for up to 3 days.

* I find the easiest way to get the pulp from the persimmons is to use a sharp knife and remove the core. Then I use my hands to peel back the skin as best as I can, it's super soft so it will tear, that's okay. I do this over a bowl to catch any drips, there will be many. You could also cut it in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Once peeled I drop the mashed mess into a bowl and carry on peeling the rest. Once I have enough peeled, I go back and pick through them, removing the seeds while trying to keep the lovely jelly-like flesh in tact as much as humanly possible. I then peel the flesh from around the seeds until I can't stand it any more, and then pop the remaining seeds into my mouth and eat the rest, spitting out the pips!
It's messy work, but so worth it! The pulp can now be used or frozen for later use. If you are after a completely smooth persimmon pulp, push it through a fine sieve.

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  • Reply
    Anahera Moon
    April 3, 2012 at 3:08 am

    Yum Em!! Im really looking forward to making some fruit loaves soon and this one will definitely be top of the list! 🙂 xo

    • Reply
      April 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      Ask Ben if he knows anyone living in the house down the road from ours in Raglan. The one with all the fruit trees. There are two huge non-astringent persimmon trees and one astringent variety there that no one ever even eats! We used to go around a pick boxful's of them every autumn.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2012 at 3:17 am

    It sounds so yummy but unfortunately I have no way of getting any persimmon pulp… there anything that can be used instead ?

    • Reply
      April 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      I've only tried this recipe with persimmon pulp but I'm thinking any stewed and pureed fruit would work too, apple, pear etc… Just use the same amount (2 cups) and do let me know if you try it out!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2012 at 3:28 am

    Looks absolutely gorgeous! I'm so inspired by your blog! 🙂 Must try for sure.

    • Reply
      April 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      This loaf is one of the nicest things to have come out of my kitchen in a long time. I hope you do try it 🙂

  • Reply
    Brittany Boersma
    April 3, 2012 at 4:13 am

    The loaf looks really great. I still haven't had a persimmon yet and I see them in the asian markets all the time. I really like the second picture you took:)

    • Reply
      April 3, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      Thanks, try them out! xx

  • Reply
    April 3, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I love that you have used the persimmons to sweeten the beautiful loaf, we used to have lots and I now wish I had used them this way too. Sadly the tree has gone now. Alli@peasepudding

    • Reply
      April 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      Oh sad alright! Hope an even nicer fruit tree replaced it? xx

  • Reply
    The InTolerant Chef
    April 3, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Great use of these sqishies indeed! The other variety is a real shocker isn't it? My hubby gets these in the fruit box at work, and always brings them home because no-one else in the office knows what to think of them- lucky me!

    • Reply
      April 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      Funny how so many people are freaked out by them. I've always loved the firm variety and am now a lover of these 'sqishies' too 🙂

  • Reply
    leaf (the indolent cook)
    April 3, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    That looks every so scrumptiously moist. The only regretful thing for me would be not being able to taste the persimmons!

    • Reply
      April 3, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      Persimmons only really taste like sugar to me anyway, so it's a lovely way to use them up if you have loads 🙂

  • Reply
    April 3, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Emm. We used to eat lots of the very ripe, squishy variety raw in the Bay. Best to pop the in the fridge for a few hours before cutting up and eating raw. Taste quite different. Lovely with Cornbread and cheese(if you eat it)

    • Reply
      April 4, 2012 at 1:35 am

      Yum Gillian, sounds wonderful! Will have to try a few from the fridge 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    Sherilyn @ Wholepromise
    April 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Fantastic ! The persimmons are popping up at our local markets everywhere at the moment. They are such a delight. I love that you have used them in this way. It sounds simply delicious.

  • Reply
    April 4, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Ooooh dear Lord… spring is kicking in, I'm hoping we'll see a couple of persimmons pop up soon too 🙂 (French overseas territories produce quite a lot of exotic fruits). I love this gluten & dairy-free recipe because it suits exactly my dietary needs and is still pretty amazing. Thank you sooo much!

  • Reply
    Emily @LivingLongfellow
    April 5, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Interesting recipe! When living in Korea I received a huge box of persimmons as a luna new year gift. I had never seen a persimmon before and had no idea what to do with them. I let the sit in their box for 2 weeks without touching them, and then they were totally rotten when I found them again. Wish I would have know they were able to be baked with!

    • Reply
      April 6, 2012 at 2:44 am

      Hehe, that's what always seems to happen when I buy cauliflowers 🙂

  • Reply
    Mairi @ Toast
    April 6, 2012 at 12:49 am

    What a gorgeous loaf Emma. I have actually never ever used persimmon….thinking I should rectify that, they are such lovely looking fruit.

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