Wednesday, November 7, 2007


It is one of the fragrances and tastes I seek out during the autumn. Its nose is pungent with a rosy-nose and an apple/pear-like texture. I am referring to the quince. A somewhat obscure fruit that comes to us via the Middle East and visually could be confused with an apple variety Рperhaps that is the mistake Adam made. Though unlike its iconic cousin the quince is not edible raw. It must be saut̩ed, stewed or steamed in order to make it palatable.

They are ripe when yellow, and it releases a potent redolence that is quite floral. It also has a felty-fuzzy covering its outer skin, which inevitably tickles my nasal cavity as I drink up its smell. It is a small prize to pay for such an exotically delicate flavor.

If you have ever made apple butter you now have the opportunity to make another fabulous paste from the quince. The English and Spanish have a long tradition of using this paste as an accompaniment to a cheddar or manchego cheese – along with some Port and crusty bread I am having a heavenly afternoon.

Quince Upside Down Cake – yields 12
2 quince – peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1-cup sugar
4 ounces unsalted butter – at room temerpature
2 eggs
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1/4-cup cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups chickpea flour
1-cup sugar
1-teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a 9-inch cake pan or 12 individual 3/4 ounce ramekins evenly distribute the sliced quince – gently packing them in.

In a 2-cup saucepan add the sugar and 1/4-cup of water. Over a high heat melt the sugar and water together, and cook until the sugar turns a light amber. Pour the caramelized sugar over the quince.

In a work bowl beat the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and the ricotta cheese to thoroughly combine with the butter. Mix in the cream and vanilla extract.

Sift the chickpea flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Then mix the flour mixture into the butter-base. Pour the cake batter over the quince, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes (for individual cakes15 to 20 minutes), or until cake tester inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. While still warm invert the cake and remove the pan. If any quince has stuck to the bottom gently remove to the cake. Cool the cake completely.

1 comment:

little miss sunshine said...

Hi Richard -
Not sure if you remember me. I took your Fine Dining 1 class at the beginning of August while preparing for my move to Hong Kong. Just wanted to reconnect to thank you once again - I have often found myself leaning on the techniques and mindset that you were demonstrating in that class. On another note, I just wanted to send along these pictures taken on a food market tour here in HK. I know you're familiar with Asia, but not sure if you visited Graham Street market in HK. They're closing it shortly as part of the city's lastest rehabilitation project (to build more skyscrapers - just what we need!). There's been some local activism in protest, but not many people out of Hong Kong are aware of the new plans. Do you know if there's an international organization who might be able to help out?
Hope your well! Karen Salomon