Monday, October 22, 2007

Gluten-Free Apple-Quince Pie

I got some e-mails asking me about the pie pictured in the post on my Pecan-Quinoa Streusel Crumble Topping. That's an apple-quince pie! I would have posted the recipe sooner if I hadn't been gallavanting around New York City with a bunch of gay Jews this weekend. Have you ever cooked with quince? It's a hard autumn fruit that looks like a hard and somewhat lumpy cross between an apple and a pear. It tastes unpleasantly astringent when raw but is delicious when cooked down with plenty of sweetener (agave nectar, in my case), and has a flavor that is fragrant, mild and apple-y. The texture is firmer and more grainy than an apple, which makes it stand up well to a long cooking time. Apples and quinces are lovely together. Quinces take much longer to cook than apples, so cooking them together results in an apple-quince "sauce" with a wonderful consistency - The apples will nearly dissolve into sauce while the quince retains just enough of its firmness to give the filling a good bite and appearance. I discovered later that I used unripe quinces, so keep an eye out for yellow quinces rather than the green ones I used, and they will take less time to cook.

The pie was fantastic, if not entirely photogenic. I used the Natural Feast Gluten-Free Frozen Pie Shells again. As I mentioned in this post they are gluten-free, vegan, kosher (pareve) and free of refined sweeteners. They are also free of soy and nuts. They're no replacement for a homemade crust, but they work well in a pinch. Since they come in packages of two, I had one left after making that delicious apple-raspberry pie, so I used the remaining one for this pie. This recipe calls for a pre-baked crust - If you use the Natural Feast crust, follow the directions on the package for baking it without a filling, but cut the baking time in half, then remove the crust from the oven and fill it with the fruit filling. Once you fill it, put a piece of tin foil underneath and fold the edges up so it creates a loose partial tent around the pie, with the top open. This will keep the edges from burning.

You will likely have some leftover filling, but that's intentional on my part. I think the filling is just too good to only be inside one little pie. Eat the leftovers cold, like applesauce - Or mix with yogurt. Better yet, put them in ramekins, sprinkle with leftover crumble topping, and bake in the oven or toaster oven until the topping has browned slightly. An easy breakfast or dessert. Who needs a crust, really?


[Gluten-Free / Pareve / Soy-Free / Vegan ]

5 quinces
8 granny smith apples
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice mix*
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup apple cider
1 cup agave nectar, sugar or honey
2 Tbsp sweet rice flour**
1 Tbsp margarine (or butter) cut into small pieces
1 recipe Pecan-Quinoa Streusel Crumble Topping

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Peel apples and quinces, core them and cut them in thin slices - You can use an apple slicer for the apples, but make sure the quince is cut as thin as possible. Add all ingredients to a large pot, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the fruit is tender (about 20-30 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Pour the fruit mixture from the pot into a mixing bowl, and slowly sift in the sweet rice flour, making sure to mix it in evenly so there are no lumps.

Pour fruit mixture into a partially pre-baked pie crust. Use your fingers to crumble the streusel topping across the entire top of the pie. Arrange small pieces of margarine across the top, and bake for 20-20 minutes, or until the topping is golden-brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.

*You can buy pumpkin pie spice mix from any spice company, or make your own.

**Sweet rice flour is not the same as white rice or brown rice flour, which are not good thickeners. You can find it at most Asian markets as well as some health food stores. It is sometimes called sticky rice flour, glutinous rice flour (yes, it's gluten-free!) or oriental rice flour. You can buy it online here.


Dianne said...

That looks stunning! I've seen pies like that in good restaurants and yearned for a taste. Now, it's possible!


Carrie said...

YUM! I just posted an apple quince pie recipe myself! Although I have to admit, yours looks much more luscious!! Thanks for sharing!!

greensunflowerRN said...

OMG... I made this with oats, instead of quinoa, the gluten free pie crust from the frozen section at whole foods, and fuyu persimmons instead of quinces, and it was beyond good.

All my subsitutions were nothing though... this recipe rocks.

ByTheBay said...

diane - thanks!

carrie - great gluten-free minds think a like!

greensunflowerRN! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. thanks for letting me know. have you seen my persimmon cake recipe?

Anonymous said... says nut-free, but then in your recipe PECAN is listed. Hmmm

ByTheBay said...

Anonymous: Oh my goodness! How the heck did that happen? I'll fix it right now. Thanks for the heads up!