Exclamation marks are a form of punctuation that express strong feelings. That is, excluding its use in mathematics or computer programming – except possibly when expressing frustration over a mis-placed symbol that throws the whole equation/code out of whack. But, that is a whole other story. In the title of this post, however, a normal English language punctuation mark is used to express strong feelings – in this case, either utter despair or great elation…or perhaps a mixture of both. The question “What do I do with my harvest of quince?” elicits wildly changeable feelings, depending on my levels of optimism at any given time.
You see, I was in a bit of a quandary. I have plenty of membrillo in the refrigerator and a huge 3 litre jar of ratafia de coings (quince liqueur) infusing in the cool cellar. Then, there are the jars of quince jam, pickled quinces and quinces preserved in brandy syrup on the pantry shelves. I love this rather odd fruit, but what more could I do with it?
A Greek friend of mine reminded me that her mother slow-cooks her quinces in the oven. That immediately sparked the little grey cells and sent me searching through the blogs I follow. Somewhere I saw something about baked quinces that sounded delicious.
I should have guessed that it would be on one of my favourite blogs – Please Pass the Recipe‘s Ruby Red Quince. Once mine were made (and they were perfection as advertised), I wanted to find ways of using them, that is, other than simply gobbling them up.*
Küchen is a German word for cake. However, if you do a web search for küchen, most of them are fruit topped creations – that is, if you select English language sites only. This küchen is based on a flan-like flatish cake, in the original recipe topped with pears poached in wine. In fact, it is a wee bit like a Bakewell Tart – that is, if you forgive the absence of the shortcrust pastry and the almond in the cake!
- 1 poached quince, sliced (about 1/6 the recipe of Ruby Red Quince)
- 110g (4oz) unsalted butter
- 100g (3.5oz) castor sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 125g plain (all purpose) flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- optional cinnamon sugar – 1 Tablespoon castor sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (a 3 to 1 ratio)
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (approximately 340 degrees F). Prepare a 24cm (9-1/2in) springform pan by buttering the sides and lining the bottom with baking parchment, dust with flour. if you don’t have the same dimension of springform, it should be at least 23cm or 9in diameter.
In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the egg and the vanilla extract. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt before adding it to the creamed butter mixture. Mix until well incorporated. Place the batter (it will be stiff) into the springform pan, pushing it to cover the bottom and creating a slight rim up the sides.
Cut the quince slices into 1/2cm slices and arrange in a pattern on top of the cake batter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, although this is optional.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a knife inserted in the cake comes out clean and the cake has acquired a golden brown colour. Cool for a few minutes before running a knife around the edge and removing it from the springform pan. Cool on a rack.
With a spoon, drizzle with a little buttercream icing (recipe below). Cut into wedges and enjoy!
This will probably make more than you need. Simply freeze what is left and reserve it for another cake.
- 14g (1/2oz) butter
- 2 Tablespoons double (heavy) cream
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 85g (3oz.) confectioner’s sugar
Place the butter and cream in a saucepan and heat on low until the butter melts – or heat in the microwave for 10 seconds. Take it off the heat and add the vanilla. Sift the confectioner’s sugar into the butter mixture, stirring until smooth.
* The poaching liquid was turned into a wonderful ruby red quince jelly, plus there are still a few quinces left from the 2014 harvest, wrapped in paper and stored in the wooden apple rack. Enough, at least, for cooking with lamb or pork. Phew! They’re all accounted for this year!