Posts Tagged ‘quinces’

Quince pie

February 6, 2008

This post is over due, I know. The quinces are quickly – here anyways – disappearing from the stores, and actually- hush! don’t tell – it has been a while since I made the pie. So much for the fast and furious internet…

I made the pie from the last apple quinces I could get my hands on. Yes, I know, I’ve been babbling on and on about quinces ever since I started this blog, but I just can’t help it. Really, I try – and then there they are again, ideas bumping around in my head of what to do with these fruits of magic. There is just something elusive and magical about them, that keeps on stirring my interest. Maybe it’s the way they are unapproachable when uncooked, maybe their sweet apple-like aromas?

Quinces take quite a while cooking and a lot of sugar, too. I made the pie partly from a recipe, partly on the spur of the moment. First, I made a quince compote. That took a while. And then a while longer. Actually, so long, that I had to stop cooking and continue the day after. So if you plan to do this, make sure you have at least three hours on hand.

The idea is the following: Wash the quinces (for a 24 cm pan 3 if using apple quinces, half as much if using regular) and remove the pit. Dice into 3 cm cubes and put into a pot and cover with water, two handfulls of sugar or so. Now, decide on what kind of spice you want to use. I recommend vanilla and lemon zest – both is great with quinces. Cinnamon is another, but after Christmas, you might have had enough. I know I have. Lemon zest is essential, I think, as the fruits need a little acidity.

Cook the quinces slowly until reaching a compote like consistency. It might take a while, as I mentioned. The pieces should retain their shape, you’re not making mash here. When happy with the compote, drain completely. Keep the liquid, it’s great on yoghurt or other places where you use sweet sirups.

Meanwhile, make the pie dough and refrigerate. You probably have your own favorite recipe for that, so I won’t bother. I didn’t prebake the pie, lazy me… – and the world didn’t come to a stop and the pie was great. So up to you. Fill the pastry shell with the compote and slice up a couple of apples very finely, discarding the pit, and cover the pie. Bake for 30 min. or so at 180 C until nice and golden. Serve with a little whipped cream and maybe a drizzle of the left over sirup. Tea is nice, too. Not fruity but black, Ceylon would be my choice.



December 4, 2007

I stumbled across a small basket of Danish apple quinces sitting on the top row of my green grocers outdoor rack. They were sitting on top of all kind of regional-grown apples – Lobo, Cox, Belle de Boskoop – and just waiting to be brought home to my kitchen. Quinces are great. Period. They go in stews, spice up apple dishes and not least great for sweets.

I haven’t seen Danish quinces in the stores before. You can get imported ones from countries around the Med pretty much all year long, but Danish ones are rare. I grabbed a few and already knew what to make – membrillo. We’ve made for Christmas the last couple of years from bush quinces from my parents house. Botanically it’s a whole different ball game, or so I’m told anyway, but the results have been good, though. This year however, it was to be the real deal, regional apple quinces, how much better does it get? Not a whole lot, actually. I was pleased I must admit! The paste thickened easier than before, maybe because of a higher pectin content, and the taste was great. Sweet with deep apple aromatics.

It takes a little while making the membrillo – and constant attention! This is one of those instances where you need a distraction free environment. I swear, the bobbling lava that eventually becomes a paste can smell if you answer the phone. It will burn, trust me. Once you set up your distraction free environment, wash the quinces, quarter and pit. Boil them in water until the are soft (up to thus point it is okay answering emergency phone calls etc.) Discard the water, press the soft quinces through a sieve discarding the peels. In a saucepan combine the puree with equal amounts of sugar and a little lemon peel and stir on very low heat until a thick amber paste is formed. It will take a while. Once you’re satisfied, transfer to a lined dish and put in a preheated oven at 50C until the top is no longer sticky to the touch. Let it cool, cube and roll in sugar. Serve along any old Christmas munching – English fudge, orangettes etc.