Tag Archives: quince

Gluten and Dairy Free Breakfast Cake

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1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup (reduce to 1/4 cup if using apple or pear sauce)
2 eggs
1 cup quince sauce (or apple or pear sauce)
1/4 cup cold strong coffee
2 cups oat flour (I grind my own in a coffee mill specifically for gluten free grains)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
dash ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch sea salt
1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Oil an 8×8″ glass baking pan.

Beat canola oil and maple syrup till well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add quince (or other fruit) sauce and coffee and combine well. Add oat flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, salt and optional raisins and mix well. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 30-40 minutes (or until completely set, gently shake pan and watch for the “jiggle” in the center).

Remove from oven, cool and enjoy!

“Karinshu” Quince Infused Cordial

This recipe is from “Preserving the Japanese Way” by Nancy Singleton Hachisu.

2 lb (6) quince
1 lb (3 cups) sugar
2 qt (8 cups) vodka

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Wash, quarter and core the quince. Remove any blemished areas and worm holes. Place the prepared quince in a jar with the sugar and vodka. (I divided everything in half because I didn’t have a large enough jar on hand) Seal tightly and shake.

Store in a dark place and shake occasionally for 3 or more months while the liqueur infuses. The flavor of the cordial will deepen and mellow with age. The cordial will keep indefinitely. Serve cold or over ice as an aperitif.

Stay tuned for the final results in 3 months!

Freshly picked quince

Quince Cheese (aka quince paste)

DSC_0020My father dropped off a bag of quince from his New Jersey orchard and I couldn’t be more thankful! Our young trees produced little fruit while his lovely mature trees provided enough for both of us to each work up a batch of quince cheese. Quince is an apple/pear like fruit with its own distinctive taste- I would describe it as similar to an apple with hints of lemon.

Quince cheese isn’t actually cheese but a paste made from the fruit. It is a time consuming though simply made combination of 50/50 quince and sugar that is processed and allowed to dehydrate over the course of 3-6 months. We enjoy it on its own like a fruit snack, in baked goods or, my favorite, with a cheese platter.

Making Quince Cheese
equal weights of quince and sugar

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Wash and cut the quince into pieces leaving skins and seeds in tact. The seeds have a lot of natural pectin in them which is needed to make the hard paste. Remove and discard damaged and bruised areas. Place the quince in a pot with enough water to just barely cover, bring to a boil with lid on and simmer until the fruit falls apart (about 40 minutes depending on the ripeness). Cool for 15-30 minutes so it can be handled.

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Scoop the cooked quince into a mesh sieve or if you are lucky enough to have a kitchen aid attachment this makes the task very easy. Strain with the cooking water as much of the pectin from the seeds will have cooked out into the water. After an arm and shoulder breaking session of pushing cooked quince through a sieve with a wooden spoon my father gifted me with a kitchen aid strainer attachment. Amazing piece of equipment!

DSC_0027 DSC_0028 DSC_0029 DSC_0030Return the strained cooked quince to the pot, add sugar, stir and over medium heat bring to simmering. Cook without lid, stirring occasionally until it thickens/jells (it took my batch 90 minutes but this will most likely vary). Caution! it has a tendency to “pop” and splatter, especially as it thickens. The color of the quince will go from a light golden color to a deep reddish copper as it cooks and thickens.

DSC_0032Pour a 1/2 inch thick layer of the hot quince mass into pans. (I used disposable aluminum tins that I use each year and line them with plastic wrap. I am trying one pan with parchment paper this year in my attempt at eliminating as much plastic as possible but won’t know for several months if it works.) If you it cool it will thicken up and not spread nicely.

DSC_0033Place toothpicks into the quince mass, cover with a piece of paper towel making sure it doesn’t touch the mass, place on a shelf where it will be undisturbed and allow to dry for 3 months (until it is a solid cake). My father’s friend said that using a food dehydrator will speed up the drying process considerably though a friend of mine who followed the recipe last year and used a dehydrator and said that the texture wasn’t the same as mine which she preferred.

Happenings in the Pietri Garden

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A few days ago I realized that the beach plums were beginning to ripen. We planted these fruit trees because they are indigenous to the New England coast and figured that with the sandy Plainville soil they may actually like it here. This is the first year that it bore fruit; tiny fruit. DSC_0040These little plums taste just like plums, I guess we will just need a lot of them to really fill up or make something out of them.

Last year our peach tree produced peaches, but only enough for the chipmunks and squirrels to knock them down from the tree and eat them. This year we might get lucky because the tree is loaded with beautiful fruit.
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The pawpaw tree is also producing this year so we will hopefully have a chance to taste the fruit for the first time. It was the first tree we planted in what we lovingly call “the orchard” (it is really just a small patch of fruit trees). It took ten years to just bloom. This year, at the mature age of 13 we have fruit! The fruit grows in clusters like bananas.
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The pear trees will also give us a nice harvest. We have seckel, anjou and bosc. My brother, Rik, loves pear sauce so my plan is to preserve the bulk of the fruit by making some. (stay tuned)
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The quince trees only have a few small fruits. I will need to research what they need to be “happier” and more productive. Our soil is slightly acidic and very sandy. I have been adding lime spring, summer and fall. Maybe I just need to be patient.

Speaking of patience- I planted three bogless cranberries and two elderberry trees (bushes?) this spring. The cranberries took a heavy hit with hungry rabbits tasting the new treats. My father helped out and built cages to protect them. They have recovered and I look forward to seeing how they do next year unmolested.
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One of the elderberries bloomed and produced a few berries (still green). Oddly, there is a late bloom that won’t have time to produce fruit so maybe I will use the flower for a tea or infusion.
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DSC_0049There was a dragonfly that buzzed along with me as I took the camera to document some of the garden. They are beautiful and magical. As I examined the elderberries it was looking at me with its large eyes and tipping its head like a puppy with a question.
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This year I planted eggplant for the first time. Can’t wait to pick this first beauty and make a delicious dish. I haven’t decided… baba ghanoush, eggplant parmesan, ratatouille. I may need to ask Xav as eggplant is one of his favorite vegetables.