I recently returned from Japan where I encountered persimmons hung like jewels on leafless branches of the tree, like ornaments. Harvested and strung up in front of Japanese country houses like coral necklaces, this colorful display announces the end of fall and beginning of winter.

That memory (read more here) prompted some late-night baking to create a holiday cake with persimmons and pecans, plus prunes with Armagnac! The result: a travel-inspired treat, great for a cup of tea.

Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups sifted AP flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon (or nutmeg, your choice!)
2 cups sugar
1 cup melted butter, cooled to room temperature
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cups Armagnac (or bourbon or whiskey)
2 cups persimmon puree (from 4 ripe persimmons)
2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped
2 cups prunes, chopped (or other dried fruit)

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a cake pan or 2 loaf pans, tapping any excess.

2 Sift together all the dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the melted butter, beaten eggs, Armagnac. Add the persimmon puree, pecans, and prunes and stir to combine.

3. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. This is a dense cake so make sure it’s cooked through. Cool in the pan. Enjoy!