Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Honey Poached Quince Pie #46

Dear Readers,

Sorry I've been absent for a few weeks. Thanksgiving brought family visitors, sightseeing, tons of fun, and left me a little sleep-deprived, busy at work, and perhaps with a little turkey tryptophan still in my system. I am blaming all in good and bad ways for slowing my return.

But I'm back, and while I haven't been updating, I've been baking. Hopefully, my lapse will only help us all gear up for the holidays because there just so happens to be another perfect pie occasion coming our way in just a week and a half!

So...let's pretend this lapse never happened...huh?

Well then. Ahem.

Let's talk about quince:

Actually, as of a few months ago, I didn't even know that quince existed. I got one in my farm share and thought it was an apple.

It's not.

So don't get confused and bite in because I'm sorry to say that you'll be disappointed.

Quinces are a cross between a pear and an apple and I've heard rumors that they turn dark red when baked.

With this particular pie, I'd say that there was a pinkish hue, but not the red that I was expecting. I'm assuming that must be another variety of quince than the one I used. But yes, pinkish hue; no, deep red.
With all quince pie recipes I read you are to poach the quince before baking. For this recipe I poached them in honey and the results were a lovely aromatic flavor. In a way, it was kind of like eating potpourri--but much more moist.

I know that kind of sounds like a negative way of describing this, but I just mean that I often feel the same way about lavender cookies or rose flavored candy--the smell is so much a part of taste that it's hard for me to separate them.

Everyone liked the pie and was pleasantly surprised by the taste...for a few bites...and then it became a little too sweet too quickly.

That being said, I think that it would be a really delightful mini pie or just served in smaller slices, or an even better solution would be to just have more people over for pie. In that case, everyone wins.

Honey Poached Quince Pie
(adapted from
3 pounds quince, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cups water
1 pinch salt

3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
Reserved quince cooking liquid

Cornmeal Crust:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal (preferably stone-ground, medium grind)
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks total) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons (or more) ice water
For crust: Blend flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in processor. Cut butter and shortening into mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add 4 tablespoons ice water; blend just until moist clumps begin to form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into disk. Wrap disks separately in plastic and chill at least 1 hour.

To Poach Quince: Combine the sliced quince, honey, water, and a pinch of salt in a pan (you should have about nine cups of sliced fruit). Cover the pan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low. Simmer, covered, until the fruit is tender, about 8 minutes, stirring carefully once or twice to avoid breaking the fruit.

Put a strainer over a saucepan and pour the cooked quince into a strainer, reserving the cooking liquid. Set the quince aside to cool.

Combine the white sugar, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and flour in a small bowl and mix well. Add the sugar mixture and the butter to the reserved quince cooking liquid and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the sauce to cool.
Place a sheet pan on the lowest rack of the oven. Preheat an oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C). Pour the cooled quince into the pastry-lined pan and cover with the sauce. Add the top crust, crimping the edge to seal. Cut vents or prick the crust with a fork to allow steam to escape.
Put the pie on the preheated sheet pan and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Bake until the edges of the crust are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and bake until the juices are bubbling and the crust is brown, about 45 minutes more. Cool on a rack at least two hours before serving. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kimberly,
    First, I want to say I can tell you know your pies.

    You educated me here on quinces. I use pears quite frequently in my pies, but never this fruit. Since it's a cross with a pear I will give it a try.

    I'm wondering why you choose a cornmeal pie crust here. Please tell me. Does it come out somewhat gritty? Why do you like it?

    Talking about pie crust, my girl is wheat and gluten intolerant. So I tried a wheat, gluten, egg, and milk free pie crust. Guess what? It turned out great! I devised the recipe myself based on various remarks I read with what I knew about a flaky crust. The first bite I could not tell the difference with a wheat crust. After 5 or more bites, I start to detect the rice flour.

    You mentioned your pie was too sweet. I suggest two things. 1. Add less sugar ( just common sense) 2. Increase the sourness, add more lemon juice or a very tart berry.

    I have one last request. Please don't stop baking pies after 52. I enjoy your post very much. They inspire me to keep pie baking knowing that you and I are dedicated to pies.

    The cute Pie Guy