Bring the flavors of the middle east to your dessert table this fall with this quince apple crisp with cardamom and rosewater.
The calendar tells us that it is officially the fall season. But here in San Diego, we still have warm 80-degree weather. People are still going to the beach and of course, we haven’t given up our flip flops yet. But one of the ways I can tell that fall is here is from the produce aisle at the grocery store.
Apples, pears, squash and pumpkins are everywhere. The smell of cinnamon is all over these stores, too! I did manage to snag a bunch of nectarines this week, knowing it was probably the last time I could get some good ones since September is almost over.
What is Quince?
One fall fruit that you many Americans are unfamiliar with is quince. This funny looking fruit resembles a bumpy pear. But that is as far as the similarities go. Quince is not green, though, but a very bright yellow when ripe. And when I say ripe, that doesn’t mean it is a soft fruit. Quince stays rock hard even when ripe.
You could eat quince raw, but I highly discourage this. Quince has a very sour and bitter taste. The magic of quince is when it is cooked. The flesh softens and becomes quite aromatic. Like pears and apples, quince flesh quickly oxidizes and browns when peeled and chopped. The addition of lemon juice keeps it from turning brown and ugly.
Why you must try this recipe
Middle Easterners have long loved this misunderstood fruit for centuries. They discovered the magical transformation of quince when it is cooked into a ruby red jam, for example.
But figure whatever you do you with apples and pears, you can also prepare with quince. So that means tarts, pies and crisps along with jams, compote and even Persian stews.
You can find quince in middle eastern markets. They grow well here in California, so you could probably find them at your local farmer’s markets. My local Persian market sells quince as early as summer, but again, it is at its peak in the autumn months.
Which brings me to today’s recipe for Apple Quince Crisp with Cardamom and Rosewater. Because quince is a bit on the sour side, I decided to pair it with apples.
And since quince is much harder than apples, I partially cooked them in water and lemon juice. This way the apples and the quince would end in the same firmness when this crisp was done cooking.
Because quince is beloved amongst us Persians, I gave my crisp a Persian twist and added cardamom and rosewater. All of the aromas that came from this dish made me swoon. This is not your ordinary fruit crisp.
Ingredients you need
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- Quince: Look for firm, unbruised fruit. It should also be aromatic.
- Apples: Use baking apples like honey crisp, jonagold or granny smith apples
- Lemon juice: This keeps the apples and quince from browning, as both fruits oxidize when cut.
- Rosewater: Although not necessary, it gives your crisp a touch of the exotic. You can find it online and in middle eastern markets.
- Spices: ground cardamom, ground cinnamon, salt
- Pantry staples: granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, brown sugar (light or dark), old-fashion oatmeal
- Almond slices: You can also use other nuts like pistachios, walnuts or pecans.
- Dried rose petals: Again, this is optional, but You can find it online and in middle eastern markets.
1. Peel and core quince, chop into small chunks and place in a small pot. Cover quince with water, bring to boil, cook for 5 minutes, drain and reserve.
2. Peel and core apples, chop apples into large chunks and place in a large bowl with the chopped quince. Mix in with the fruit lemon juice, rosewater, granulated sugar, 2 TBS flour and spices. Pour fruit mixture into a 9″ x 9″ baking dish.
3. In a separate bowl combine ⅓ cup all-purpose flour, brown sugar, oatmeal, salt and butter. Mix with your hands, squeezing butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.Stir in almond slices.
4. Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely. Place the baking dish on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly.
5. Allow crisp to cool 10 minutes prior to serving. Garnish top of crisp with dried rose petals (optional). Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Quince Apple Crisp with Cardamom and Rosewater
Bring the flavors of the middle east to your dessert table this fall with this apple quince crisp with cardamom and rosewater.
- 2 firm quince
- 2 cup water
- 4 granny smith apples
- 2 TBS lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon rosewater
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup plus 2 TBS all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, light or dark
- ⅓ cup old-fashion oatmeal
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 4 TBS unsalted cold butter, cut into small pieces
- ¼ cup almond slices
- ½ teaspoon crushed dried rose petals (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Peel and core quince, chop into small chunks and place in a small pot.
- Cover quince with water, bring to boil, cook for 5 minutes, drain and reserve.
- Peel and core apples, chop apples into large chunks and place in a large bowl with the chopped quince.
- Mix in with the fruit lemon juice, rosewater, granulated sugar, 2 TBS flour and spices.
- Pour fruit mixture into a 9" x 9" baking dish.
- In a separate bowl combine ⅓ cup all-purpose flour, brown sugar, oatmeal, salt and butter.
- Mix with your hands, squeezing butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
- Stir in almond slices.
- Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.
- Place the baking dish on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly.
- Allow crisp to cool 10 minutes prior to serving.
- Garnish top of crisp with dried rose petals (optional).
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serving Suggestions: Serve alone, with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Serving Size:1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215Total Fat: 7.3gSaturated Fat: 4.2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 41mgCarbohydrates: 37.9gFiber: 4.1gSugar: 24.1gProtein: 1.9g
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What a great recipe! Just interested in your comment about eating quince raw. Myself and my wife live on the Mediterranean coast of South Turkey so quince is a local fruit here. We have a couple of trees in our garden along with orange, lemon, pomegranate and pear. The Turkish fruit isn’t bitter in any way, we would often slice them and eat as we would an apple. They’re quite sweet, but slightly dryer than apples in general. We do mostly cook them ourselves too. I’m surprised to hear that you find them to be bitter, though it’s possible that… Read more »
We only get one kind of quince in our markets and the raw fruit is not edible. So interesting to know that there are sweet versions of this fragrant fruit. There are so many similarities between Persian cooking and Turkish. Love my bottle of rosewater! xoxo
We’ve had some cool days, but it’s been in the 80s here this week. Very warm for this time of the year! Anyway, lovely dish. I don’t often use quince — it has a short season, so I don’t often see it. But next time I do, I’m making this! Good stuff — thanks.