Perhaps youve seen one of these pale-green fruits in your CSA or your local grocery store. What are they? And what do you do with them?
Quince. Theyre related to pears and apples, but theyre not like either one. Theyre like a perfumed apple, with the subtle sweetness of a pear, but with denser flesh, and a little drier than a juicy pear. Apparently, you can eat them raw but I never have. Instead, these are heaven when poached or roasted.
Poached fruit desserts in fall should always contain quince. Raw, they are hard. Poached, they fall apart a bit. Soft. And, they turn pink. So what more could you want?
Famously, quince are used to make mebrillo, a thick, sweet paste that you can slice and eat with Manchego cheese and marcona almonds. If I had membrillo around regularly, that might be my only afternoon snack. Try it. Its wonderful. And with Elises simple recipe, you can make it yourself right now.
If you have eaten quince before, its probably as quince jelly. Clotilde has a recipe, adapted from Christine Ferber, for this rosy perfumed jelly. As she writes, well pop a jar open and spread some on our morning slices of pain au levain, with or without a thin insulation layer of semi-salted butter. Im sure it will fare well on the tender flesh of a split yogurt scone, too, and I look forward to brushing the top of my apple tarts with it for shine, as is traditional. Ill do that soon, with gluten-free bread, scones, and tarts.
Luisa at The Wednesday Chef has a lovely recipe for poached quince. She uses sugar, a cinnamon stick, and a vanilla bean. I might use maple syrup, star anise, and that vanilla. Maybe some fresh ginger too. Once you have the hang of poaching fruit, you can play with whatever ingredients you have on hand.
My friend Shuna Lydon, who is a passionate, talented pastry chef in New York, recently told me on Twitter that she saves all the peels and cores from the quinces. Instead of throwing them out, she gently simmers them in water and sugar to make an incredible simple syrup for poaching other fruits later.
See? Even the peels are useful. If you havent seen any quinces in your CSA, you might want to go find some.
What do you do with quinces? Wed love to know more.
You can find more of Shauna and Dannys recipes, essays, photographs and words of comfort about living gluten-free at Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. Shauna shares food ideas and answers questions on Twitter. She also pins photographs and recipes on Pinterest and Foodily. Theres a great community at the Facebook fan page for Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.
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