Just for the record, a quince is a fruit. A delicious, fragrant and golden yellow fruit. Don’t be fooled into thinking this little gem is just some purple sticky blob served alongside cheese – it’s so much more than that. In fact, it’s scent is a portal to my childhood – my Grandparents used to cook quinces whole to serve alongside breakfast. I used to watch as they slowly turned from a vibrant yellow to the a deep ruby red. My Mother however has always made quince jams. So when she bought me some the other day, I was a little perplexed as to what to do with them…..
Eventually I convinced myself to invent some sort of cake to put them in, but I didn’t want to use whole pieces – which lead me to the puree idea. Quinces need a long time to cook. It took me one and a half hours to get them to transform from tough and woody to soft and deliciously sweet.
I love quinces versatility. I often use the puree to enhance a gravy – especially when serving pork or venison roasts. It adds a wonderful sweetness and vibrancy to rich, gamey meats. Even baked and then used in a dark chocolate cake is another family favourite.
So if you ever stumble across these golden yellow, knobbly and tough unknowns, make sure you give them a good home. Treat them with the love and time that they deserve and they will reward you with a wonderful, if somewhat forgotten, flavour.
2 – 3 quinces (small, or 1 large)
1 stick of cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, split
1 1/2 cups full-fat Greek yoghurt
2/3 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 – 4 cups icing sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter
- Peel and quarter your quinces, removing the seeds.
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add in your cinnamon stick and vanilla bean pod. Once boiling add the pieces of quince and cook for 1 1/2 hours, or until soft.
- Heat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 24cm spring form pan lightly with baking spray or oil, and line the bottom with parchment.
- Puree you pieces of quince until smooth and creamy, reserving the liquid they cooked in.
- Boil down a couple ladle fulls of the quince cooking liquid until it becomes more syrup like.
- Whisk together the yoghurt, olive oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Sift the flour and salt into the liquids and stir until no lumps remain.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan and then pour over roughly 1 cup of your quince puree, then gently stir through. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean, transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.
- Poke a few holes in your cake with a skewer and pour a a few tablespoons of the reserved quince liquid over the cake.
- Using a bench-top mixer, beat butter and incing sugar until creamy and pale, then add a tablespoon of the quince puree. Once cake is cooled, spread icing over the cake.