Photograph by Marcus Nilsson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero


Persimmon Ammonite Bread

Desserts from Issue 8 – Winter 2016 – Origin

As fossils go, ammonite seems a miracle. That the snail-like cephalopod with its dreamy (but deadly) trail of tentacles that has been extinct for as long as the dinosaurs (more than 60 million years) was a wildly prolific breeder means that you can still easily find its fossils today. We echoed its lovely coiled shape with a wound sweet bread wedged with ripe persimmons.

serves 6 to 8

  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp warm water (105-110°F)
  • scant ¾ tsp instant dry yeast
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tbsps all-purpose flour plus more for rolling
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp sugar

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ tsp ground star anise
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 2 firm ripe Fuyu persimmons, (squat variety) peeled and cut into thin wedges
  • 1 large egg beaten with a pinch of salt

  • 1

    Combine ¼ cup water with yeast and a pinch of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set aside until mixture bubbles slightly and becomes creamy looking, about 5 minutes. If the yeast does not react, discard and start over with new yeast. Add flour, oil, 1 Tbsp sugar, ¼ tsp salt and remaining ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp water. Beat into a doughy ball. Switch to a dough hook and beat at medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1½ hours.

  • 2

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.

  • 3

    Mix sugar, butter, anise, and vanilla seeds until well combined. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a ⅛-inch thick rectangle, roughly 10 x 15-inches. Smear with anise filling and scatter with persimmon slices, reserving 12. Roll up the dough into a rope, then twist as if you are wringing a towel to form creases. (It’s ok if some persimmons poke through.) Coil into a snail shape and transfer to pan. Use scissors to cut 12 slits along the coil and slide a persimmon slice into each. Cover and let rise in a warm spot until double in size, about 45 minutes.

  • 4

    Brush dough with beaten egg  and bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.