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.

The pink dice are the quince pieces

The pink dice are the quince pieces

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.

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  • Cary Said,

    Ohhh, stomach growling time!

  • Leigh Williams Said,

    Looks like another great recipe.

    I made the chocolate chip cookies last week for Boy Twin’s birthday. He liked them . . . a LOT . . . but I purely fell in love with them. I’m not even a fan of chocolate, and I still thought they were the best cookies I’ve ever baked.

    I did mess up a little. I printed both the New York Times recipe and yours, and somehow I got them a little tangled up. (That’s what I get for mixing cookie dough at 1:00 a.m.) I was able to revert to your recipe, but only after adding the huge amount of salt the NY recipe called for. The dough tasted like salt, and more salt . . . so I added more flour and butter and just generally futzed around with it until it was better. Now, of course, I couldn’t possibly reproduce exactly what I did, but whatever it was, it was GREAT!

    Actually, I think I ended up with pretty much your recipe, though perhaps rather more of it than your recipe makes.

    The cocoa nibs are the key, honestly. They improve the texture far more than I thought they could.

    Anyway, thanks a million for a real winner. I’m making them next week, too, to take to East Texas. I expect the family will deify me.

  • leslie Said,

    Well, Leigh, THAT’s a relief… I’ve been waiting/hoping to hear how they came out ever since you asked for the recipe last July. Needless to say you’re very welcome! I’m delighted you had a good result.

    Of course, it sounds as though you should be posting YOUR recipe, if only you could. Futzing around in compensation for error may be the secret to more great food than any of us like to imagine.

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