It’s quince season!
Our quince tree is small, and as yet we are to pick any fruit from it. So we are very fortunate to have been gifted a generous number of these bumpy yellow fruits again this season from Sandra Scott at DK Potatoes. I can almost see the tree from our back door! Local produce rocks!
Of course the obligatory upside down quince cake must be made. It got the two thumbs up from the man in the house, so here's the recipe:
Quince Almond Cake ( From taste.com.au)
First peel and cut two large quinces into 8ths. Cover with water. Toss a few cloves, a star anise and a stick of cinnamon in the poaching water. Add half a cup of castor sugar. Bring to the boil, then simmer till the quinces are a lovely pale pink and are soft when tested with a sharp knife, about an hour and a half. Allow to cool. Save the liquid.
Preheat over to 180 deg or 160 deg for fan forced. Grease base and sides of a 22cm spring form pan, and line with grease proof paper. I often use smaller pans and make 3 small cakes instead of one large one. I pop one into our cabin guests' breakfast basket.
250g butter (softned)
1 1/4 cups castor sugar
1 teaspoon lemon rind
1/2 (half) cup of almond meal
1/4 (quarter) cup of flaked almonds
3/4 (three quarters) cup of milk
2 1/4 cups self raising flower
1. Beat butter and sugar plus lemon rind in a bowl till light and fluffy.
2. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
3. Stir in almond meal and flaked almonds.
4. Stir in milk and flour.
5. Lay the quince pieces at the bottom of the pan. Arrange in a fan-like pattern.
6. Spoon the batter onto the top of the quinces.
7. Bake for around and hour. Test with a skewer. It will be done when the skewer comes out clean.
8. Invert the cake onto a plate and remove from the pan. Add a little of the poaching liquid to the top of the cake for a deliciously moist cake!
9. Serve with cream or ice cream.
This cake is one of those treats that can sit comfortably on the kitchen bench for a day or so. Perfect for a quick sweet fix when passing by!
Don’t like quinces, you can easily swap out the quinces for new season pears or apples instead.
As much as we love this cake, most of these quinces will find their way into jelly, jam and paste, just perfect for cheese boards over the coming winter months. The challenging thing about working with this fruit is that it is incredibly difficult to cut. A sharp knife and firm hand are required. And great care! So here’s what I prefer to do when making any of the preserves.
Wash the fruit. It has a fine layer of ‘fur’ on it. Don’t get rid of all of the fuzz. (It will help your jelly set). Cut off any blemishes and soft spots.
Put the whole fruits into a big pot and cover with water. Simmer slowly till the fruit is soft and has changed colour to a beautiful pink.
Here’s my trick for intense flavoured jelly: Allow the pot to cool then put the whole pot into the fridge for a day or two. You can’t be in a hurry for this jelly. The resting time will intensify the quince flavour in the water.
After a day or so, lift the quinces out of the water. Strain the water through a muslin cloth. This is the base for your jelly.
The fruit is now soft enough to cut and peel. The skins are easily removed and the flesh is soft, so cutting it is a breeze.
Decide what you’re going to do with the flesh. Jam or paste.
Finally, if you don’t have time to deal with a glut of these gorgeous fruits, then simply follow step 1 and then pop them into a large zip lock freezer bag or seal-able container and freeze them. When you’re ready, continue with step 2, no need to defrost.
Quince jelly is delicious served with cheese, but it is equally good with roast pork. Both the jam and paste is traditionally accompanied by cheese. So now I’d better get back to the kitchen and get cracking on these delicious preserves!
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