QUINCE PEARS AND CHOCOLATE PIE
This recipe is a free interpretation of Linda Lomelino’s Apple Pie and uses an amazing seasonal product like Quince Pears, a late autumn nature’s gift, ripe just before the frost, that not only looks amazing and makes you dream of evenings spent in front of the fire reading a good book and tasting a warm and spiced cake, but is perfect for pies because of its low content of water, a well-known enemy for pies and fruit cakes of any home cook.
Quince pears belong, together with quince apples, to the genus Cydonia, a gorgeous tree with pale pink blossoms that bears a bright golden-yellow pome fruit similar in appearance to pears. In antiquity, the tree was cultivated in the Mesopotamian plains where apple tree did not do well and it was used as an emblem of Aphrodite by the Greek. It’s now cultivated in all continents in warm or temperate climates.
The fruit is never available in large quantities and the season of ripe quince is brief, but you can preserve its intense aroma and flavour in jams, jellies and freeze it for puddings or to be added to apple sauce or other fruit jam to enhance the taste. In Spain and Portugal is also preserved as cheese and in the Balkans is distilled into rakija, a local eau-de-vie. In France they make a digestif out of it, the liqueur the coing. Most varieties of quince are in fact to be eaten cooked, being too hard, astringent and sour to eat raw.
Whichever way you want to taste it, this is a beautiful seasonal addition to anyone’s pantry.
Related: Carmela’s Masala Chai
Linda’s recipe in Lomelino’s Pies p. 30 (add link to Amazon)
Quince Pears filling
1.5 kg of Quince Pears
2 tbsp butter
18 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp vanilla powder
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp corn starch
200 gr dark chocolate (70%)
100 ml double cream
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp cane sugar
1 pinch of salt
Follow Linda’s recipe. She is the queen of pies and for a reason. Or use your own, if you have a family recipe or a well-tested one.
Quince Pears Filling
Peel, core and slice the quince pears. Do not slice too thick.
Melt the butter and cook the pears with the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt covering if necessary until they are slightly soft.
Add the flour and corn starch. Stir well and cook up to when all the juice is absorbed.
Let the filling cool completely.
Break the chocolate in small pieces. Pour the cream in a small pot. If you have a copper one that would be the best one to use. Add the chocolate and melt it on low fire stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. As soon as all the chocolate has melted, turn off the fire and let it cool completely. It is important you do not overcook the sauce. Chocolate burns very easily and what you are trying to do here is simply melt it, not cook it.
Putting everything together
Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Celsius. Take the pie pan with the bottom pie crust out of the fridge and place the quince pear filling in it. Add the chocolate sauce on top of the pears, distributing it evenly. Finish up the pie with the top stripes, glaze it brushing the stripes with the egg glaze and place it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before baking it.
Bake it for 20 minutes on the bottom tray of the oven. After that, place it to the medium tray and lower the oven to 180 degrees. Bake for an additional 40 minutes. If the pie top gets too dark too soon, cover it with aluminium foil.
Let it cool completely before cutting. This pie is delicious on its own but it can even get better if served warm with custard or vanilla icecream.
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