27 October 2009

Quince-essentials

My stock of quinces is dimishing so fast, I'd better give you the quince-essentials now. What have I been cooking since the last entry? PS. I hope you are not bored with quinces yet... I still have a few left!

Quince-Apple Pie

The combination of quinces and apples is classic, and sticking the fruit into a pie crust does not require great imagination, admittedly. Yet the resulting, deeply musky apple pie is decidedly worth making. I made my pastry with wholewheat flour which provides a heavier, nuttier crunch factor but the airy lightness of ordinary wheat flour would work well here, too.

Make a short crust pastry: rub 225 g butter into 340 g flour, 1-2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add just enough ice cold water or cream to bind your crumbles into a dough. Divide into 2/3 and 1/3, press into disks and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out the larger piece of pastry and line a springform, bottom and sides, with it (I roll the pastry out on a piece of baking parchment which I then press into my baking mould). Sprinkle a few breadcrumbs or crushed biscuits over the bottom, so that the filling will not cause a soggy pastry disaster!

For the filling, peel, core and slice 3 apples, grate two quinces and mix with a few walnuts; my fruit-nut mixture weighed 610 g to which I added 125 g muscovado sugar. Transfer into your pastry case and roll out the smaller piece of pastry to make a lid. Press any pastry overhanging at the sides onto the lid with a fork and make a few holes in the lid so that steam can escape.

Pretty Pie
before and after


Brush the top with a beaten egg, if you like with some added sugar or maple syrup. Bake at 200 C for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 180 C and bake for a further 45 minutes. I like to eat it cold.

Quince Mostardo

It is but a short leap from your traditional sweet quince preserves into the realms of chutneys etc. The italians make a wonderful preserve of fruit boiled in a sugar syrup which is then flavoured with mustard. This spicy condiment goes well with cheese and meats, and naturally, I had to try out a quince version. Having never made mostardo before, I read through various recipes, and even found a 'mostardo di Venezia' made with quinces and candied lemons. However, I wanted to use quinces, apples, pears and green grapes, for no other reason than it seemed a natural combination to me, and therefore went my own way. I follow the general method for candying fruit, namely reducing a sugary syrup day by day. Mustard is added in the final step and the fruit then needs to be bottled and mature; naturally, I will taste along the way and report back to you once I open my first jar of mostardo.

I used three apples, pears and quinces as well as some green, seedless grapes, a grand total of fruit weighing 1160 g. Add half its weight in sugar, i.e. 580 g and the juice of one tangerine. Leave open for 24 h, stirring occasionally.

Day 1: strain the fruit, and reduce the syrup by half. Add the fruit and leave to infuse for another 24 h.

Day 2: repeat, as per day 1.

Day 3: repeat, as per day 1. Dissolve 25 g of mustard powder in a little white wine, and boil until smooth. Add to fruit and opur into sterilized jars. Leave to mature for several weeks.

PS. We have recently opened the first jar, it's utterly delicious. I love it with cheese. I should not have given away so many jars...

1 comment:

Amelia PS said...

sounds amazing.

It's funny...i was JUST thinking of Mostarda di Cremona last night. Since my mom is coming to visit from Italy I asked her to bring me some (can't find it here in the US). I must try making it once!!! How did yours turn out???