Thursday, September 30, 2010

Quince Bake

Yeah, I know, another baked dish... but hey, faced with giant quinces, what's a girl to do? This one is incredibly easy, and took advantage of the leftover Quittenmus (pureed quince) that I made last week by using it in the cakey layer above the fruit. I sprinkled it with some spelt oats, because spelt oats are a good friend of mine. Also because it looks prettier, but eh, whatever.

As you can see above, one of the quinces had been in a couple of fights. They're a pretty tough fruit, best handled with a small, sharp knife. The skin tends to be a little fuzzy, like a peach, and they're totally inedible raw. I've never had the gumption to try one raw, actually, so that could be an old wives' tour created by those who despise sour fruit. The smell of the quince, as you cut into it, is so much better than the appearance of the fruit; light and floral, sweetsour, and fresh. Apple, my young padawan, you have absolutely nothing on your older friend, here.

You want to cut your quince into small chunks, ready to simmer in some water (with sugar added, if you need) as if it were an apple. Except, thankfully, it's not an apple - it's better. Yeah, I know, you're probably not as enthralled with quinces as I am, to which I say: suck it up, princess. This is my blog, and if I want to wax lyrical about fruit, then sure, I'm going to do so. Just be thankful that it's not another post about pumpkins! ;)

The stewed fruit it put into a small casserole dish, covered with the batter, and slowly cooked. I know it's not a friendly thing to do, but I pierce the middle of the batter after about half an hour - it releases a little moisture. If you have one of those flutes used to vent pies, then that too would be absolutely brilliant. The level of moisture here means that the bottom layer of the cake will be mushy and slightly battery in places, which is completely awesome if you were the kind of child who would fight tooth and nail to lick the spoon when your mother baked. If you don't like that sort of pudding-like consistency, then halve the fruit amount and double the cake batter, and bake it as though it were a quince cake or clafoutis. See, quince is for everyone!
Quince Bake
2 ripe quinces, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
sugar (to taste)
pinch cinnamon (optional)
1 & 1/2 cups wholemeal flour*
1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder*
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 & 1/2 cups quince puree (applesauce is fine)
soymilk/milk, as required
small handful oats, if desired
Simmer your quinces in water, adding sugar and cinnamon if you like (I don't bother - I like tart fruit) until the quince is completely tender. Drain thoroughly. I like to let them sit to cool, so that they release less liquid when they're baked. It improves the texture of the cake.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, vanilla and quince puree, adding soymilk or milk if required, to make it into a thick batter. Whether you need to add extra liquid depends entirely on the consistency of your fruit puree.
Pour the batter over the quince pieces and bake, about 50-60 minutes in my slow oven, which was set to 180 degrees C. I cut a vent in the top when the batter was thick enough to stay apart, so about 30-40 minutes into the baking time. Just put a knife into the batter and pull it back to the sides, so that the fruit in the middle is exposed. It doesn't need to be too big.
Eat straight from the dish with some kind of icecream or custard, if you can. Mush it up as you eat it, then realise that you never took a photo of how it looks inside, and realise that you've made it completely un-presentable to anyone who would want to see it. Eat a quarter for morning tea, and then half for afternoon tea (after a huge lunch), and then regret your lack of self-restraint when you get a stomach ache from eating too much food in one sitting. ;)

*If you have access to SR flour, use it instead of flour + baking powder. I'm using wholemeal flour because that's what I have in my pantry - white flour is perfectly acceptable, too.

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