Quince crumble with a little apple

Quince crumble with a little apple
Serves 4-6, depending on how hungry/greedy you are

For a delicious,unusual and Portuguese tasting version of a traditional British pudding, try making it using fragrant quinces.
If you have a favourite crumble topping recipe use yours, I like mine ( my mum´s) but am no granny-like authority on the matter.I have given four alternatives of classic toppings for you to choose from below.
When making a crumble topping it helps to understand the difference between normal pastry and a crumble mix. First and foremost, a crumble mix has sugar in it, standard pastry does not. Amongst other factors, the sugar has the effect of forming tiny crumbs of pastry around it.
The second key difference is that the standard pastry mix has a small amount of water added to it. This helps the pastry mix to form a single ball which can then be rolled into shape. A crumble mix has no water added to it.

300g plain flour
200g good butter
150g brown sugar
a good handful of oats if you have them

3 cooking apples
3 large quince
200g sugar
a few bay leaves

Peel the quince and cut them into six. Remove the core and put wedges in an oven tray that fits them well, a nice ceramic one you wouldn't mind seeing your crumble in would be good. Add the 200g of sugar, the bay leaves and enough water to just cover. Bake the quince in a moderate oven (about 160C) for a couple of hours. You can bake them for less but you'll never get the beautiful orange colour. When orange, remove from the oven, drain a little of the liquid if there's loads (you can use this syrup as a cordial). Check the sweetness – add more sugar if you like.
To make the topping, rub the butter and sugar together between your hands, until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Don't make it too fine. I'm sure the trick is to do it pretty quickly. Chuck in some sugar, to taste, depending on preference and how sweet the quince has ended up.Chop the apples,keeping them raw, into chunks and add to the quince.
Sprinkle the crumble on the fruit and bake in a hottish oven (190C) for about 20 minutes until the top is browned and the mixture cooked. Eat with a big dollop of very thick cream.

280g / 10oz self-raising flour
140g / 5oz brown or white sugar
140g / 5oz butter                                          
A traditional crumble mix the way my mum made it. Well defined crumbs and looks good.
230g / 8oz flour self-raising flour
150g / 5½oz caster sugar
150g / 5½oz butter
A smoother mix with a rich buttery taste. The crumbs are not as well defined. Browns well on the top for that attractive golden colour.
                                                       OATY CRUMBLE RECIPE
140g / 5oz self-raising flour
140g / 5oz brown sugar
100g /3½oz butter
55g / 2oz rolled oats
A rougher crumble mixture with the oats giving it a real bite. Give this one a try. Use the remaining oats for porridge!
                                                  ALMOND CRUMBLE RECIPE
50g / 2oz chopped almonds
200g / 7oz self-raising flour
140g / 5oz brown or white sugar
125g / 4½oz butter
For this crumble recipe the fruit (apple or pears only) and crumble are cooked separately. Delightfully simple and easy to make.

Quintessential tip
Quince has the firmness of a hard winter squash, so be sure to use a large, firm chef's knife to cut it into halves, quarters, or slices. Peeling works well with a vegetable peeler or a small paring knife. Remove the core and you may well have to chisel it.Be careful.

A quintessential alternative
Quince makes an excellent fruit sauce similar to apple sauce. Peel a few quinces, slice them with a very firm knife, and remove the seeds. Cook them in a small amount of water with plenty of sweetener of choice until they reach a pulpy consistency like apple sauce. Mash or puree in a food processor, and serve as a dessert or accompaniment to savoury dishes.


  1. I love quinces so much - there is something rather magical about them . . . they have a rather fairytale quality about them - perhaps because despite the fact that they are lacking in the beauty stakes, that they smell and taste so wonderful.

    I make a sauce to go with roast pork with them too and of course they are fab in tagines with lamb.

    BTW - it's almonds in crumble every time. I have a couple of quinces ready to go - I was going to put them in my Christmas pudding and mincemeat ... but think that having some crumble tonight might satisfy my immediate craving! Cheers, hon.


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