Quince and Apple Crumble Cake

I have already written about my plethora of quince.  Before this year, to my shame, I had never cooked with them.  The flowering variety are a very unprepossessing fruit and do not look like they promise much.  However, I have been delighted with everything that I have made which left me with a dilemma.  What to do with my remaining fruit?  They have been sitting on my kitchen table for a week now perfuming the air with their fragrance, but the time had come to use them.  I thought about mixing them with apples for a compote as I am partial to fruit and yogurt at breakfast time.  But my freezer is stuffed to the gills.  I toyed with ideas of conjuring more alcoholic mixes with vodka or gin but could not quite persuade myself.  I was sorely tempted my recipe for Quinceade but in the end decided to go with a variation on my friend Joy’s recipe for Crumble Cake.

Ready for the oven

I combined the quinces with cooking apples and the resulting tart but tasty topping was perfectly offset by the icing sugar dusting.

I made one large 9″ round, which I rather foolishly was hoping would last over the weekend, and four mini loaf tin sized cakes that I intend to squirrel away in the freezer for Christmas hampers in due course.

It works well as a cake and is delicious as a pudding, either hot from the oven or cold, with cream or without.  One I will be adding to the To Be Done Again list.

Quince and Apple Crumble Cake

For the crumble topping:

  • 80g butter
  • 100g plain flour
  • 50g sugar

For the fruit

  • 400g quince, peeled, cored and diced
  • 400g cooking apples, peeled cored, and diced
  • 2 tbsps sugar

For the base

  • 100g butter
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt

Ensure all ingredients at room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 190c/Gas 5.  Grease and line a 9″ spring form tin or 4 mini loaf tins.  First prepare the topping.  Rub the butter into the flour and then stir in the sugar.  Set aside in a bowl until needed.  Next prepare the base.  Using an electric mixer, combine all base ingredients and mix for 2 mins until light and fluffy.  Finally prepare fruit and toss with sugar.  Spread base over bottom of tin/s.  Then add fruit, then sprinkle over topping.  Place in centre of oven and bake for about 1 hour (45 mins approx for mini tins @ 170c) until cooked through.  Cool completely in tin.

Quinceade

Two weeks ago one of my friends came round with a large bag of flowering quince.  It’s the sort of shrub that likes to hang out in car parks or landscaped public spaces.  It also does quite well in suburban gardens around here.  We have a small bush in ours.  We did have a bigger bush in the front garden but the Captain killed it.

I thought long and hard about how to use this bagful.  For about five whole minutes.  And then made some jam.  It’s very nice jam, not too sweet.  I like it a lot and I am not a lover of jam.  The irony of my current obsession is not lost on me.  I also started some quince brandy which I have high hopes for.  This left me with just enough to experiment with.  Alys Fowler’s book, The Thrifty Forager, makes mention of quince lemonade so I thought I would try to concoct that.  The results are so delicious that I post them with delight and heartily commend them to you.  Quite possibly the best thing about the recipe is that you need to start by freezing the quince meaning that long hot summer days, which are currently something of a distant memory, can be spent sipping this dreaming of the time when the quince will be fruiting again.

My only problem now, is what to do with the bag load of quince my Mother has just delivered to me.  Shall I freeze the lot in anticipation of those hazy summer days sipping quinceade, or make some quince and apple compote?  Perhaps a compromise is called for and a little of each made.

Quinceade

300g frozen quince, defrosted

2 1/2 litres water

200g sugar

Halve and de-seed the quince.  Liquidise with a little of the water, slowing adding the rest until the whole lot is incorporated.  Sieve into another container, pressing the sieve with the back of a spoon.  Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.  Use a hand-held blender to give a final whizz and achieve the frothy head.  Serve.