Sunday, November 7, 2010

Quince and Apple Pie

 "A quince for you, a quince for me, quinces we shall eat" Quinces are one the oldest known fruits. They proceed the apple and are believed by many to be the Forbidden Fruit that Eve offered Adam in the Garden of Eden. In Greece, it's known as the fruit of love and plays a part in most wedding celebrations. Quince trees have been grown in Asia and through out the Mediterranean for over 4000 years. Although quinces have been around for centuries, they are a relatively new discovery for me. They have begun to pop up recently in our local markets so I thought I'd give baking with them a try. Who doesn't want to try the "fruit of love"? I mean if it was tempting enough for Adam...

The quince is a relative of both the apple and the pear, but most varieties  cannot be eaten raw. In the raw form, quinces are usually very hard, even when fully ripe, and very astringent. When cooked however, they turn a beautiful rosy color and a have a lovely floral-like flavor. Because quinces naturally contain a high amount of pectin they are often used in jams, jellies, chutneys and marmalades. They are also wonderful to use in baking and can be substituted for apples or pears in most recipes.

I decided I'd poach my quinces and mix them with apples in a pie. I don't think that it's necessary (or possible!) to improve on a classic apple pie, but the quince mixed with the apples was a nice change from the traditional apple pie.  Because they are in season in late Autumn, quinces are a great choice for your Thanksgiving dinner. If you are looking for a little variety this Thanksgiving, consider a quince and apple pie.
 For the pie crust on this pie, I used part white whole wheat flour and part regular all-purpose flour. I also made a crust with some vegetable shortening as well as butter. Because I used the white whole wheat flour, the vegetable shortening helped make the crust a bit more tender, flaky. I also thought the white whole wheat flour gave the crust a slightly nutty taste that was great with the quince.

Quince and Apple Pie 

Pie Crust
Makes two 9 inch single crust or one 9 inch double crust pie.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour -( I used 1 cup of white wheat flour and 1 1/2 all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup(2 sticks) cold butter, cut in small pieces
1/4 cup shortening- chilled
6 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water

Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter and shortening over the dry ingredients and pulse until it is coarsely cut in-you should have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Drizzle the water over the mixture. Using on/off pulses, pulse just until the dough holds together when pinched. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. divide into two equal pieces. Form each piece into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.

Prepare the quince:
3 quinces peeled and seeded
2 cups water
1cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
Quarter the peeled, seeded quinces, and cut into quarter-inch slices. In a heavy bottom pot, combine water and sugar. Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds. Place the vanilla bean and the seeds along with the quince slices in the pot. Poach the quince 15 minutes. Cool, drain and discard the vanilla bean.
Look at the beautiful color the quinces turn when poached!

Assembling the pie:
4 tart/sweet apples (Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, etc..) peeled and sliced in 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbs butter, cut into small pieces
Milk, to brush on the crust. 
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the sugar, flour and nutmeg. Pour the sugar mixture over the apples and quince stir to coat evenly.Add lemon juice, toss to coat.
Roll out one disk of the pastry dough on a floured board into a 14-inch circle. Fold the dough into quarters, center it on the pie plate, unfold and gently pat the dough into the bottom and sides of the plate.
Spoon apple/quince mixture into the pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with butter.
Roll out the second disk into a 14-inch circle. Fold the dough into quarters, center on top of the pie and unfold. Trim, seal and flute the edges.Make slits in the center to vent the pie. Brush the surface of the crust with milk.
Bake until the crust is golden brown and juices bubble, about 45 to 55 minutes.

I made little individual pies. So cute!
    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.
~ "The Owl and the Pussycat," by Edward Lear


Lillianna Grace said...

I've never had a quince, but perhaps now I will ;-). I found your site from another blog and I'm glad I did! If you are interested I am giving away a beautiful cake decorating book by Toba Garrett! Feel free to check it out if you don't already own it.

Peggy said...

This sounds so great! I don't think quinces are very prevalent here in the midwest (or I've just been blind and overlook them) but if I find some, I'm definitely making this!

Cynthia said...

May I have one please? :)

Kristy said...

Just stumbled upon your blog! Love it!!

grace said...

although i've never eaten a quince, it's one of my favorite scrabble words. :)