Apple, Quince and Clementine Crisp

15 November 2010 § 3 Comments

A few things I just learned about quinces:

  • They are resistant to frost and need a cold period below 7 °C to flower properly.
  • Most varieties of quince are too hard, astringent and sour to eat raw…I tried – definitely not good. They are used to make jam, jelly and quince pudding, or they may be peeled, then roasted, baked or stewed.
  • The flesh of the fruit turns red after a long cooking time.
  • The very strong perfume means they can be added in small quantities to apple pies and jam to enhance the flavor.
  • The term “marmalade”, originally meaning a quince jam, derives from “marmelo,” the Portuguese word for this fruit.
  • If you see them at your Farmers’ Market – buy ‘em up as I went back this week and they were gone…finito!

The late Jane Grigson (notable British cookery writer) was of the opinion quinces made “everything delicious.” And Nigel Slater compares their appearance to “a fat cherub.” He has 23 pages dedicated to quinces in his fruit book – Tender:Volume II (that would make a lovely birthday present if anyone is looking for ideas for me…hint!) Here is the recipe for the simple apple, quince and clementine crisp (or crumble depending on where you are from) that turned out quite heavenly, must have been those fat cherubs.

Ingredients (for 4-6 people):

3 large cooking organic apples – peeled, cored and chopped

2 small quinces – peeled, cored and chopped

2 clementines

Zest of 1 clementine

Knob of butter (for fruit)

1 tablespoon sugar (to add to fruit)

1/2 cup brown sugar (for crisp)

2 cups flour (I used a mixture of white and buckwheat)

1 stick unsalted butter – chilled and cut into pieces

1 cup oats

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Generous pinch of allspice

Pinch of salt

Directions:

Bring  a knob of  butter to a gentle foam

Add the apples, quince, zest, allspice and sugar. Cook for about 8- 10 minutes over a medium heat until soft, but not mushy. Remove from heat and add clementines.

Put fruit mixture into an ovenproof dish

Rub the flour into the butter until resembles a fine mixture. Then stir in oats and nuts and brown sugar. Cover the fruit mixture and bake in over for about 45 minutes on 385°F.

Serve with lashings of custard.

Apple Custard

26 October 2010 § 2 Comments

I can’t stop buying apples, I’ve eaten so many good apples the past few weeks – crunchy Jona’s Golds, refreshing Galas – they look so pretty and autumnal. I decided to use some of my stockpile of apples as I need to make some room before I replenish my stock next weekend at the Farmers’ Market….I am addicted to apples. So I opted to make something easy, so Apple Custard Pie it was, based on a Martha Stewart Pear Custard Pie recipe.

Here is my apple version. It is not really a pie as it has no pastry or crust, but quick and easy – a one bowl dessert!

Apple Custard Pie

Ingredients

2 large cooking apples (organic)

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup unsalted butter – melted

pinch of salt

3 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel, core and slice apples. I used Mutsu apples as the Tree-Licious Lady at the Montclair Farmers’ Market said they were great for cooking…and they were – sweet but with a bit of a bite, and they retained some texture after 45 minutes in the oven. Arrange the apple slices in a 9″ greased pie dish (use butter – I just wipe a butter wrapper over it).

In a large bowl – add all the other ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour the batter over the apples and bake until firm and golden. About 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. It was good but more of a traditional custard would have given it a better texture and richness. Next time I would have infused the milk with a vanilla pod instead of using essence  to give a more complex flavor.

Those amazing Araucana eggs from upstate NY

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