What is Quince you say? Well it's a very dense, compact and a bit of a dry fleshy but aromatic cross between a pear and a zingy apple.
It's scent is beautiful but hard to describe... It's heady, sweet and almost citrus like with a hint of bee's wax yet the skin is thick and waxy to the touch.
They are usually covered in a thin layer of light brown fluff almost like velvet but they lose their fury jacket when ripe and their colour becomes a bright sunny yellow with slight tones of lime green.
OK they are odd looking but when cooked they become squishy and lovely with a tart taste, a bit like crab apples!
But they aren't the prettiest of fruits though I quite like their bulbous knobbly look and I actually love eating them raw... OK that's not for everyone, I'll admit it but I'd say try a tiny bit so you get the full taste of it in its raw, untouched state.
Because this year we had an amazing long hot summer our small garden tree gifted us with about 21 kilos of fruit!
We've never had so much, the first year 8 kilos followed by a poor 4 after we pruned it right back but joy of joys... this year it gave us back a huge glut!
And so apart from making the usual Quince based recipes like "Marmelada" (Portuguese quince paste) and chili sauce I also decided to boil up a huge lot so to freeze and use later through out the winter.
This lead me to think, OK I have all these boiled quinces but what am I actually going to use them for?
Apart from adding them to porridge and yogurt for breakfast I thought it might be worth exploring favourite recipes which I already love eating... hummm, so I made a crumble!
And you know what, it was delicious and by far my now favourite type of crumble although apple is still good this is a much tarter alternative which is exactly what I love!
I know, not everyone likes that kind of "flying saucer" like sharpness but it's a great pick me up on a dark winters day.
NOTE: And if you don't have quinces you can usually find them in Turkish/European supermarkets or failing that you can use apples or any fruit you love.
I used a mix of quince and pear as I had some lonely pears in the fruit bowl looking a bit sad!
Quince and pear Crumble...
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
- 600 g Quinces, washed, peeled, cored and boiled in a big pot of water with a stick of cinnamon
- 400g of Pears, washed cored and cut into large chunks (I left the skin on for a better texture)
- tablespoon of demerara sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- 100g plain flour
- 75g vegan margarine
- 50g rolled oats
- 80g demerara sugar
- 1 large teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- 1/3 teaspoon of cardamon powder (Omit if you don't like Cardamon)
- handful of almond flakes
In a large pot boil your quinces in enough water to cover them with a stick of cinnamon.
Leave to boil and cook until tender but still with a nice bite to them, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Drain, remove cinnamon stick and set aside.
In a pan add a small knob of margarine and gently sauté your pears on a medium heat.
I didn't precook the pears as I like them to still keep their structure otherwise it'll all go to mush!
After they've slightly coloured add your boiled quince to the pan, a pinch of sugar and mix well. Add 1tbsp of water and gently simmer for a few minutes.
Note: You can add a glug of Calvados if you wish for a boozy crumble though I would flambé it so to cook out the alcohol!
Also at this point you can also add some sultanas -although I think they are the Devil's food hence why I've omitted them from my recipe!
Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a food processor add the flour and margarine and pulse until it resembles sand.
This will happen quite quickly, a few pulses should do the job!
Remove the blade and mix in the sugar, oats, cinnamon and cardamon with a wooden spoon.
In a large deep oven proof dish pour in the pear and quince mixture and top with the crumble. Sprinkle on the flaked almonds and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the crumble is a golden brown colour.
Serve warm with oat creme fraiche or soya cream!
I bought some Oatly Fraiche to try and oh my, it's absolutely amazing!!! I'm sure there are other brands on the market (and in no way is this post a paid advert) but I thought I'd share the brand because it's so good!