The Quince, a Peculiar Fruit:
I like trying new things, so when I found this interesting fuzzy fruit called a quince, I had to try it. It looked like a cross between an apple and a pear and I wasn’t even sure how to cook it, but isn’t that half the fun?! I searched the internet and found that it cannot be eaten raw. Well, it can, but it is quite bitter. The fruit is best cooked down because it releases a tannin when it cooks that mellows the tartness. I loved how it photographed before it was washed and the fuzz removed.
An Ancient Fruit:
The quince is considered an ancient fruit and the Romans gave it to their lovers as a sign of commitment. In Greek mythology, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, gave this fruit as a gift to the Greeks, and it was known that whole quinces were tossed into bridal chariots as a symbol of love. Some scholars even believe that it was possibly the forbidden fruit Eve bit into because it grew in the region where the garden of Eden is believed to have been. It is not a particularly easy fruit to find, as it is seasonal, October through December, and you may need to hunt it down in specialty market stores as opposed to large grocery chain stores, but it is worth the effort.
Of course my next dilemma was what to do with this newly found fruit once I cooked it down. I thought about a gluten-free pastry layered with lemon mascarpone curd and topped with a quince compote, pomegranate seeds and a lite dusting of powdered sugar; quite possibly a perfect combination of sweet and tart.
The fruit is fairly hard, similar to an unripe pear, and I needed a potato peeler to remove the skin. Then I sliced, cored, and chopped it. Next, it went into my new Analon Covered Straining Sauce Pan to cook down. I love this pan, especially for cooking noodles because the strainer is built right into the lid. And even though I didn’t need a strainer for this recipe, the hard anodized surface kept the fruit from sticking to the pan.
For the main filling I added a gluten-free lemon curd and mascarpone, once again a perfect blend of sweetness and tart.
For the crust, I used my yummy gluten-free honey shortbread recipe (minus the lavender). You could easily make one large pastry or small mini pastries for a holiday party. I had fun experimenting with this fruit I had never tried and was thrilled with the outcome. Any leftover quince compote could be used to spread on toast or top ice cream. Enjoy!
This recipe was shared on the following blogs: VegetarianMamma AKADesigns