All the world is nuts about
What's in The Nut Gourmet
An old-time favorite, apple crisp gets a delectable makeover with the addition of sliced quince, a seasonal fruit that punches up the flavor and places this dessert on the top of the request list.
It's unfortunate that quinces seldom receive much recognition in American cooking. They truly are one of the many gems of Persian origin and are prized for the delicious jams and jellies made from them. Similar to apples in texture, quinces are a bit drier, firmer, and far more tart, which makes them an ideal fruit to use in baking. Qunces are very receptive to seasonings and spices and are easily peeled with a vegetable peeler. The challenge is cutting them--they are super tough and require a knife with a firm blade, such as a chef's knife and a paring knife for the detailed trimming. Be sure to allow them plenty of baking time to soften.
QUINCE ESSENTIAL APPLE CRISP
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
3 quinces, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
2 apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice
1 1/3 cups (320 ml) broken walnuts, coarsely ground
1 cup (240 ml) brown sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) black raisins
1/2 cup (120 ml) whole-wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup (80 ml) old fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons natural sesame seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup (120 ml) plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon rose water (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4) and have ready a lightly oiled, 3-quart (3 liter) baking dish. Stir the sliced quinces and apples together in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice.
- Combine the walnuts, raisins, brown sugar, pastry flour, rolled oats, sesame seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt in a separate large bowl, toss well and add to the quince-apple bowl. Mix well to distribute the spices evenly.
- Stir together the maple syrup, water, rose water, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and add to the quince and apple bowl, mixing thoroughly. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking pan and cover with aluminum foil, shiny side down.
- Bake for 45 minutes, remove the aluminum foil, and bake 10 to 15 minutes longer. Fork test the quinces for tenderness. If they are tender, remove the baking dish from the oven, cool slightly, and serve warm.
Quince Essential Apple Crisp can be made a day or two ahead and gently reheated at 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4) for 15 minutes. If the baking dish is glass and is taken from the refrigerator, start warming it in a cold oven to avoid cracking the glass.
For an extravagant dessert, spoon a portion of the baked Quince Essential Apple Crisp into a bowl and top with a generous scoop of soy-based vanilla ice cream.
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