3 Cheers Pie ( Apple, Pear and Quince)
I was supposed to be planting the new peonies… and unpacking about 2000 files. But I wanted to experiment with the heirloom apples – Tolman Sweet and Zabergau Reinette – from MOFGA‘s Great Maine Apple Day. And when I got down to the Hudson Valley the fruit bowl was filled with quinces from Karen, she of the splendid strawberries.” We can get more if you’d like to use these to make a pie,” Bill said hopefully.
Usually, I’d just make apple quince, but as Bill had also rather overbought in the pear department it seemed sensible and perhaps interesting fill a pie with 3 parts apple, 2 parts pear and one of quince. Did not add spices on account of not wanting to obscure any nuances from the unusual apples. Did add a little rosewater, in the spirit of the more the merrier.
Roses and apples – and pears and quinces – are all in the family Rosaceae, a relationship you can read all about here, if you have a mind. But you might be better employed making pie. Quince season is short.
recipe after the jump
3 Cheers Pie
(pastry for a 9 inch deep dish 2 crust pie)
1 1/2 cups diced peeled quince ( see note)
3 cups of peeled, cored pear wedges, 2 large or 4 small cooking pears like bosc.
6 cups peeled and cored wedges of mixed apples: tart (Winesap or Northern Spy, for instance) and sweet (Honeycrisp or Mutsu, for instance). Cut large apples in 8ths, smaller ones in 6ths.
(1 tablespoon lemon juice if the tart apples aren’t very)
scant 1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons rose water (not extract or oil!)
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon instant tapioca
1 beaten egg white
1. Combine fruit with everything except the tapioca and egg white in a large non-reactive bowl and let it sit for an hour or so. The sugar will draw out fruit juices, making the slices slightly limp so you can pack in more without the high-humped crust-over-the-void effect.
2. Roll out and fit the bottom crust, leaving the extra overhang. Brush bottom and sides thinly with egg white and set in the refrigerator to dry out while fruit is sitting. This helps prevent sog.
3. Heat the oven to 375. Roll out the top crust. Stir the tapioca into the fruit mixture and turn it into the prepared pan, adjusting the fruit as necessary so it all fits tightly. Moisten the rim of the pastry, apply the top crust and press to seal. Trim excess crust, roll edge upward and crimp decoratively. Cut 5 or 6 steam vent slits in the top. Place on a foil-lined jellyroll pan to catch drips.
4. Bake the pie for 20 minutes, then turn heat down to 350 and bake 40 to 50 minutes more, or until top crust is richly browned and filling is bubbling. It’s better to err of the side of more cooking if you hate soggy bottom crust; cover the top loosely with foil and lower the heat 25 degrees if the pie seems to be browning too fast.
5. Let cool for about 20 minutes before serving. To my astonishment I thought it tasted better without cream, a first for apple pie in my experience. It’s best the first day but still good on the morrow, when it makes an excellent breakfast.
Note: Quinces are extremely firm and take a long time to cook. Pieces must be small to cook through at the same time as the other fruit and the dice add a nice texture contrast. You might get 1 1/2 cups out of a very large, perfect quince, but unsprayed backyard fruit is usually imperfect. It took me 2 1/2 of our medium sized ones to get the necessary amount.