I also discover quinces

pears and quinces

Seasonal fruit—pears and quinces. I’m constantly amazed by how beautiful fruits are. Back from the market, I kept picking up the apples, pears and quinces and admiring their forms.

It was another happy error. In the quasi-dark at the market, I asked the vendor for what I thought were pears, but once home uncovered these huge, hard and downy quinces. I was told they couldn’t be eaten raw but that of course was the best way to make me bite into one immediately. Boy did it make the mouth pucker but unexpectedly, out of nowhere, I tasted guava!! I swear, there was an unmistakable note of guava in this little quince. I never got such nice quinces again. These were so fragrant you could smell them from the next room, a beautiful dusky pink and lusciously ripe.

I’ve since had quinces raw, made a chutney and a compote, and roasted them with brussel sprouts. I imagine they would be delicious with pork too. Actually one of the first things that came to mind was and apple and quince pie; however, as with the parsnips, I have been begged to give it a rest :)) Also quince harvest seems to be over. At least for my quince supplier at the market. Just like the parsnips, i’m befuddled by its neglected status. They’re not widely available (are they hard to grow?) and my usual pear and apple lady had to dig them out from under the table, like an ugly cousin hidden from view.

apple galetteVery delicious half-wholewheat flour apple (and quince/prune jam) galette. Used my usual galette/tart/pie formula: Flour:butter in a 2:1 ratio (in this case, 250g half-wholewheat flour, 125g butter), throw in 1 TBS of sugar (more if you like a sweeter pastry/omit if you are doing savoury) and a pinch of salt. Rub diced fridge-cold butter into flour with fingers until you get crumbs, then add enough water until you get something resembling pastry dough (not so dry that it cracks, but not too wet either), just something that feels like it could be rolled out. The usual: don’t overwork the dough, don’t look to get a homogenous dough (butter flecks and crumbs are all good), and keep everything cold. Chill in fridge for at least half an hr then roll out as thin as you dare—this gives a very generous galette.

I like galettes with a thin ‘base coat’, and I don’t think I’ve ever made a simple galette without throwing in a little something else, so I first thought of using the quince compote I had made. However, as it was sugar-free, and seeing as how not everyone appreciates quince (ahem), I mashed up the compote with the prune-armagnac jam we happened to have, and spread it on the pastry before layering the apples. A little something else that left people guessing; overall the tart went down swell. And I really do love the extra flavour of a wholewheat crust.

pear galette

A simple pear rosemary galette with elderflower jelly (another serendipitous discovery, this) under and on top. Made this lickety-split for a friend’s birthday. Dashed home from the station, baked and delivered in under two hours. It was a surprise. Hope they liked it!

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