September and October is time for the harvesting of apples. All kinds of apples populate the produce sections of grocery stores: Gala, MacIntosh, Ambrosia, Jonagold, Fuji …… the choice can seem endless and what better time than autumn to think of Apple Crisp-ish desserts for your table?
While an apple dessert on its own can be satisfying, apples can often benefit from a partner to enhance and vary their flavour and what better pairing than apples and quince?
Sporting a bright summer yellow skin with a hard exterior in the shape of a knobbly pear, the quince’s flavour is slightly apple-like but with a more mellow floral taste. I love this fruit. Because of it’s tough flesh there is no possibility of eating it fresh, so quince is often used to make jellies, jams and is even made into quince paste, part of a Christmas tradition of the 13 desserts in Provence, France. Pairing the quince with apples makes a mouth-watering crisp. The two flavours are heavenly and each year I wait with expectation for the quince harvest to make this unique and flavourful dessert.
If quince is able to grow in your area, I encourage you to buy a tree and plant it. They are self-pollinating and easy to care for. And best of all, you can anticipate this dessert each autumn, just like I do!
Apple Quince Harvest Crisp
The flavor of this crisp is addictive!
- 3 pounds apples, such as Granny Smith, or Jonagold, sliced into ½" slices
- 3 ½ pounds quince, sliced into ¼" slices
- ¾ cup coconut sugar (I used a bit less, as I like flavour over sweetness)
- 4 teaspoons arrowroot powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon, grated
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats
- ⅔ cup plus 6 tablespoons brown sugar (it melts better than coconut sugar but either works)
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon, grated
- ½ teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter, or altogether if you like!)
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
- ¾ teaspoon unsalted butter
Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Put quince and apples into a large bowl. Mix in coconut sugar. Sift arrowroot powder over mixture; put in cinnamon and mix. Place in a 13X9" pan.
Mix oats with brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Cut butter into mixture and press through using your fingers (that's right, it's time to get dirty!) until thoroughly incorporated into the oat mixture.
Put oats over the apple and quince, pressing down if you need to. Bake at 350ºF for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 min. Check with a fork. The apples will be fine but you want to make sure that the quince is soft enough.
This recipe is even better the second day!
Food For Thought: “…. They dined on mince, and slices of quince; Which they ate with a runcible spoon; And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand; They danced by the light of the moon.” ~ Edward Lear, The Owl and the Pussycat