Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Slices of Quince

"They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon..."
                                      -Edward Lear, "The Owl and the Pussycat"

 I don't have any runcible spoons, which until now has been a non-issue because I've never had quince either. This is probably because I don't live in Roman times, when lovers were said to give each other quince as a pledge of fidelity.  Or perhaps it's because quince is a little high-maintenance: it needs to be sweetened before it can be eaten, since the raw fruit is sour.  Most likely, though, it's because my trusty food magazine has never run an article on it before, tempting me to try it.

I let the fruit sit for a few days in the fruit bowl to let it ripen a bit more, and noticed that the fruit gives off a very sweet scent, which reminded me of the bubble bath my mother used to put in the water when I was little.  I doubt it was intentionally quince-scented, but you never can tell...

 I precooked the quince slices in water with some agave syrup and cinnamon for about 10 minutes.  This softened and sweetened them, making them perfect for the winter crisp recipe I found in a random stack of recipes culled from godknowswhere.  I added a little more agave to the baking dish, tossed in the slices with a few spoonfuls of the cooking water, and topped it with an oat mixture. 

Now all I need is a Roman lover.

Quince Crisp
*note: I cut this recipe in half, since I used only 2 quince. 

1/2 C sugar (use less if you toss the slices in agave)
3 TBSP all-purpose flour
5 C quince, sliced (leave peel on)
up to 1/4 C reserved cooking water

3/4 C rolled oats
1/3 C brown sugar
1/4 C whole-wheat flour
2 TBSP gr. cinnamon
1 tsp gr. allspice
1/2 tsp gr. ginger 
2-3 TBSP butter, melted

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Combine filling ingredients, mixing well to coat.  Spoon into 6-cup baking dish, and add enough cooking liquid to keep the fruit moist and a little syrup-y but not soggy.
3. In a small bowl, combine dry topping ingredients and mix well.  Add melted butter, one tablespoon at a time, until mixture is coated and forms small lumps. 
4. Sprinkle topping over filling, and bake for 16-20 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and top is nicely browned.

1 comment:

  1. From Gian, not from Mia:

    Thank you for reminding me about my quince tree which a Portuguese friend gave me five years ago (the tree came from a Portuguese seed). Tomorrow I'll pick its fruit and look for my Sicilian cookbook that has a recipe for paste made with the fruit which is exactly as the Spanish and Latin Americans make and is delicious with Parmesan or Spanish machengo cheese, traditionally it's machengo.