Well+Good’s recipe writer Tatiana Boncompagni is a wellness reporter, group fitness instructor, and mom of three based in New York. She’s also the co-founder of Sculptologie. She believes that truly good food nourishes both the body and the soul, and that healthy food should be easy to make and even easier to enjoy.
I try to bake as often as possible with whatever fruit is at peak freshness—which requires a little more creativity in winter. (The farmers’ market looks way different now than it did a few weeks ago.) Typically, yummy baked treats are made with added sugar, but using fruit instead adds a natural sweetness that’s actually good for you.
So what’s actually in season this time of year? Persimmons—that orangey, tomato-like fruit you’ve possibly spied in the grocery store and not known how the heck to use them. Besides being loaded with vitamin A and serving as a natural sweetener, they’re so pretty when sliced laterally or in wedges like apples, adding a sophisticated pop of freshness and color to your cheese plate, cocktail, or salad. Or you can throw a little persimmon puree into your overnight oats, pancakes, or muffin batter.
This take on a classic crowd pleaser, banana bread, is easy to throw together but looks fancy (thanks to that persimmon) and hits so many health notes, it’s kind of ridiculous. By using oat flour I cut out gluten and add a prebiotic soluble fiber. The kind in oats, beta-glucan, is a powerful prebiotic that actually helps feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut, and pulls double-duty by regulating blood sugar.
Also in this recipe is Greek yogurt for calcium and tang and bananas, another prebiotic. You can spice your cake however you like, but I like to add cinnamon, which is high in antioxidants and naturally antimicrobial, and cardamom for more cozy, snow-day-season yumminess.
Want to try it for yourself? Keep reading for the recipe.
Persimmon banana oatmeal bread
Yields 1 loaf or 12 muffins
I use grass-fed butter for this recipe to make it lighter and fluffier, but I’ve also tested it with coconut oil and the result is an equally delicious but denser, more-pound-cake-like creation. Vegans can additionally use coconut yogurt instead of Greek yogurt and chia seeds for the eggs. (Mix two tablespoons of ground chia seeds with six tablespoons of water and let sit ten minutes before incorporating into wet ingredients.)
The recipe works well baked as muffins rather than bread, too. Just adjust the cook time to 30 minutes.
2-3 ripe persimmons, peeled and sliced laterally
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 cups gluten-free oat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
2 eggs (or 2 Tbsp chia seeds and 6 Tbsp water, let stand 10 minutes)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup room temperature butter (or 1/2 cup coconut oil)
3-4 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or 1/2 cup coconut yogurt)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In a small saucepan over medium low heat, add persimmons and maple syrup. Cook until maple syrup is foamy and fragrant, about five minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
3. In a bowl, combine oat flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and cooled persimmon maple syrup for two to three minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, bananas, and yogurt and mix two minutes more. Fold dry ingredients into wet and mix with a spoon until just combined.
5. Grease a loaf pan with butter or coconut oil or use a nonstick loaf pan. Place persimmon rounds on the bottom of the loaf pan. Pour batter over the rounds and transfer pan to oven. Bake 55 minutes or until a knife comes out clean after being inserted into bread.
6. Let cool for five minutes, then invert over a plate and allow to finish cooling before serving.