Colors

One of the many (manymany) benefits of the farmers’ market is the Technicolor burst of summer meals. The colors are brilliant, bright and arresting, drawing you in as they lie there.

Egg Salad
The substitute sunlight of nasturtium blossoms in a morning’s egg salad, accompanied by a midnight dark bowl of blackberries and blueberries.

Dill Salmon
The subtle greens of fresh dill contrasting with the pastel pink of grilled salmon and the earthy depths of cremini mushrooms (not to mention the inevitable nasturtiums on my salad).

Peaches and Cream
Honey-yellow peaches with burnished pink highlights half-hiding a billowing cloud of rich, white cream, freckled with cinnamon.

Blueberry Coconut Crisp
A big white bowl of blueberries, stewed until juicy and glistening, topped with crisp, toasted coconut.

My descriptions are no less purple than the fruit, but it’s hard not to let fly with superlatives when faced with such bounty.

Published in: on August 21, 2008 at 7:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Dog Days

Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

I has been SO HOT in Chicago. The last several weeks have each sported several days in the 90s, with humidity to match. I realize that this not hot compared to the Sahara, or even just Texas, but it’s been miserable. I have a relatively high tolerance to heat, but even I have been dangerously wilted by the end of the day. (It doesn’t help that my workplace is kept at roughly 35 degrees, meaning that I also have temperature whiplash).

Naturally, therefore, I have no desired to eat a cooked dessert–even room temperature fruit is almost too much. I could refrigerate the fruit, but most fruit tastes best without too much chill on it. The best chilled dessert is obvious, of course: ice cream.

I think I’ve made a new ice cream every few days for the past two weeks. Right now I have four flavors in the freezer: fresh mint-fudge swirl, blueberry-lemon, toasted almond-candied cherry, and cherry-chocolate chip (seen in the picture above). I owe the almond and mint recipes to David Liebovitz (though I did use a lesser quantity of almonds than called for, because I was somewhat short of cash that shopping trip), the cherry-chocolate to Simply Recipes, and the blueberry to my own tortured brain. (Desperate for ice cream! Almost no ingredients! Mix things together!)

The cherry and blueberry ice creams started with cooked, sweetened fruit brightened with a little lemon juice and mixed with a few cups of milk.  Chill overnight and churn.

The mint and almond ice creams started with infusions–two cups of milk heated to the point of steaming with either 2 packed cups of mint leaves (chocolate mint, from my back garden) or 1/4 cup of heavily toasted almonds (I took them to a deep dark brown–just this side of burnt). In both cases I let the mixture infuse for far, far longer than called for in the recipes. Most recipes call for an infusion time of about an hour, but I let both the mint and the almonds sit in the milk for 24-48 hours (in the refrigerator, obviously). After straining, I made the milk into a simple custard, which I mixed with sweetener, cream, and a little salt, to bring out the flavors. After freezing, I swirled in my sauces. Simple simple simple.

Every ice cream is wonderful–I can’t think of anything I would change about any of them. Teacherman will be out of town for the next two weeks, but, sadly for him, I will not be saving any of this deliciousness. I plan to eat ice cream every single day, as long as the hot weather lasts.

Well, maybe not. Maybe there will also be some sorbet. Or popsicles. Yes, definitely popsicles . . . .

Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 7:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Year and a Day

What did we eat for lunch on June 23rd last year?

This:

Reception Spread 1
Reception Spread 2
Homemade bread, compound butter, big salads of farmer’s market greens with raspberry-mustard vinaigrette, big bowls of berries, three kinds of cheese (including Gruyere, an aged goat and a tangy Brie-like cheese), a smoked salmon-pink peppercorn tart in an almond crust, and a three-layer fritatta, with a roasted red pepper layer, a spinach layer and a cheese layer.

And for dessert?
Wedding cake

Wedding Cake.

Wedding cake and lemon cheesecake

Specifically, an almond cake filled with mixed fresh berries and frosted with vanilla bean whipped cream and decorated with red currants and a lemon cheesecake topped with lemon curd and black currants.

And what did we have for lunch on June 23rd this year?
Anniversary lunch

Sea scallops wrapped in radicchio and pancetta, then grilled and served with a red lettuce salad from the farmer’s market.

The scallop recipe was beyond simple–sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper, wrap each one in a radicchio leaf, and then wrap the leaves with a slice of pancetta. My slices were inexpertly wrapped at the butchers, and thus had unraveled. I ended up just wrapping it around and around and around each little radicchio bundle and securing the ends with toothpicks.

Who am I kidding–I used about 3 toothpicks per bundle. I am not good at food-skewering.

The grill caramelized the radicchio and infused the flavor of both the pancetta and radicchio into each scallop. In spite of the fiddly eating required by all the toothpicks, it was delicious, especially from our unaccustomed seats under our lawn umbrella (which we haven’t set up, sadly, since our wedding reception). Teacherman poured an Alsatian wine to drink alongside the meal–it reminded him perfectly of the wines from our honeymoon.

Lunch was wonderful, yes, but what did we eat for dinner? Last year, we didn’t eat anything for dinner. Our reception was still going on, and due to the enticements of the lunch board, we’d eaten too much of everything.

This year, though, lunch was elegant and austere. And so, for dinner:

Anniversary dinner

Chocolate-peanut butter cookies and chocolate-peanut butter ice cream. What’s the point of being a grown-up if you can’t do this sort of thing every now and then?

(I have to admit, though, that I don’t feel remotely like a grown-up. Even though I’m nearly 30, and even though I’m married, I still have to remind myself that I’m not a kid. Thus, of course, the ideal dinner of cookies and ice cream).

If you’ll forgive my sentimentality (and if there’s one day a year when one is allowed to be sappy, one’s wedding anniversary ought to be it): Here’s hoping that we always feel this ridiculously young, and that each anniversary is as lovely–and delicious–as this one.

Published in: on June 23, 2008 at 7:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Marshmallow Ice Cream

It’s above forty degrees, therefore: ice cream.

Really, I should stop trying to come up with excuses. It’s much more like: I’m alive, therefore: ice cream.

Yesterday the temperature barely made it to thirty-five degrees, work was extremely trying, and dinner did not come together well. (All of my cooking oils have gone rancid, in spite of being practically new. This distresses me). I really needed ice cream.

I’d planned a fruit dessert for dinner, though, meaning that I didn’t have any cream–or dairy products of any kind. I did, however, have coconut milk. I always have coconut milk–it’s probably one of the few canned goods, aside from tomatoes, that I think of as a staple–and I rarely have cream, unless I’ve purchased it with a specific recipe in mind. At least half of the ice cream recipes I make seem to end up being prepared with coconut milk.

Thus: coconut milk! I scanned through my copy of The Perfect Scoop (the best ice cream cookbook I’ve encountered) for a recipe that could easily be adapted to the use of coconut milk. No out-of-the-ordinary ingredients, nothing so simple that it relied on the flavor of cream to be good, etc.

In the end, I chose the recipe for Leche Merengada, a Mexican dessert in which milk (not cream, just plain milk) is mixed with beaten eggs whites and then used as the base for an ice cream. A recipe calling for milk seemed like a better fit for the thickness of coconut milk and there were barely any other ingredients involved. Instant gratification: I love it.

I poured one can of coconut milk into a small bowl, then added several dashes of cinnamon and a big pinch of dried lemon peel (my frozen stash of ‘fresh’ lemon zest was just depleted last week). The original recipe, of course, calls for infusing the milk with a cinnamon stick and fresh lemon zest, but I didn’t have the time. I sweetened the mixture with a little simple syrup–another deviation from the recipe, which calls for sugar, but I wanted to make up the volume of liquid the recipe actually called for, and a can’s worth of coconut milk didn’t quite measure up.

I whipped three eggs whites–the recipe calls for two, but my eggs are local, and thus (given that it’s barely spring) quite small–sweetened them a tiny bit, then folded the glossy, shiny beaten whites into the coconut mixture. It didn’t combine perfectly, but I didn’t really expect it to. I poured the slightly lumpy mixture into the ice cream maker, and Teacherman (he of the strong biceps) set to churning.

Continuing in the spirit of the day, alas, the churning didn’t go very well. The mixture flash froze to the walls of the cylinder, but stayed rather liquid in the center, in spite of a very long churning time. Hmph. We scooped out what we could, hacked a bit at the sides, and gave up. We put our bowls in the freezer for a while, but before more than half an hour had gone by, I got jumpy, and we took them out again, ready to dig in.

Swoon.

I’m not entirely sure how, but the ice cream tasted like marshmallows–or rather, the perfect marshmallows, the platonic ideal of marshmallows that only really exist in one’s imagination.  I suppose that this isn’t too hard to understand, given that the marshmallows I make are based on sweetened, beaten egg whites, sometimes with cinnamon, but still.  The ice cream’s final flavor was more than the sum of its comparatively few ingredients, and, except for the “marshmallow” tag, which immediately leapt to mind, I can come up with few descriptive markers.

The coconut milk made it creamy, without making it tongue-coatingly heavy; the egg whites gave it the light, airy quality of a good, soft meringue; the cinnamon added an indefinable background layer of sweetness; and the lemon added an almost floral note, one that wasn’t at all obtrusive, but that made me stop at the first bite, wondering.

Coconut milk is already a staple; I don’t really need a reason to buy it.  But now I might have to dedicate an entire cupboard to it.

Published in: on April 2, 2008 at 8:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Confectionary Genius in 16 Steps

Step 1: Stumble out of bed at 6:00 am, cursing the fact that you have to go to work for the seventh day in a row.

Step 2: Peel and section two clementines – making sure not to break the membranes – and put the sections on a paper towel-lined plate.

Step 3: Put the plate in the fridge, uncovered.

Step 4: Go to work. (Sadly).

Step 5: Come home from work, stare at the kitchen and wish that you had some kind of plan for dinner.

Step 6: Remember that you DID have an idea for dinner when you notice the (thankfully filled and turned on) slow cooker on the counter.

Step 7: Ignore the slow cooker and turn your mind to more interesting matters.

Step 8: Put a piece of parchment paper on a plate and stick the plate in the freezer.

Step 9: Melt 6 oz of bittersweet Callebaut chocolate (or 3 oz unsweetened and 3 Tbsp sweetener) and 3 Tbsp of butter in a nonstick pan.

Step 10: Remove the (now completely dry) clementine segments from the fridge.

Step 11: Dip each clementine segment into the melted chocolate and place onto the cold, parchment-lined plate, then place the plate in the freezer.

Step 12: Pour the remaining melted chocolate into a handily-shaped container and put in the fridge for future chocolate delectation. (Restrain yourself; you will be happy to have it on Wednesday).

Step 13: Remember, again, the existence of the slow cooker. Turn it off and eat your dinner.

Step 14: Do dishes, distractedly.

Step 15: Take the plate of chocolate-covered clementine segments out of the freezer and arrange on two plates.

Step 16: Eat the segments, allowing your teeth to shatter the perfectly crisp, darkly bitter chocolate coating, and shocking your tongue at the cold, intensely citrusy flavor of the clementine within.

Published in: on March 2, 2008 at 8:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Simple Isn’t Boring

As you might guess, given the number of posts I have written about ice cream and sorbet, I am a big fan of dessert.  I’m not sweet-fiend, but I do feel that every meal should have its corresponding dessert, or at least some kind of sweet component.  At breakfast and lunch, and even sometimes dinner, this is usually fruit.  Sometimes, though, I get a creation itch and make up a new ice cream, or cheesecake, or nut torte, or truffle. 

More often, unfortunately, I want a dessert as elaborate and delicious as one of those things, but don’t have enough time (or am too lazy) to do the work to make one. 

Last night was just such a situation–I was both exhausted (don’t ASK me about the blizzard) and out of time (I don’t want an apple, but it’s 30 minutes till dinnertime!).  A mental review of the cupboards gave me no ideas.   I ducked my head into the fridge to grab an ingredient for the main meal, and spied two small containers of Greek yogurt hiding behind Teacherman’s massive jug of juice. 

Ha ha and ho HO.

Down into the cupboard to grab the balsamic vinegar, up into the freezer for the pine nuts.  A big glug of vinegar reduced in the microwave while I quickly toasted the pine nuts in a pan, all the while keeping an eye on what I was making for dinner. 

I dumped the nuts out onto a cool plate just as the microwave dinged and as my entree finished cooking.  Our meal was delicious (pasta with mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and edamame, in case you’re interested), but the dessert was surpassing. 

Greek yogurt, of course, is strained until it’s almost as thick as cream cheese, but with the unmistakable tang of a cultured product.  It almost held its shape when I scooped it out into serving dishes, like a no-work version of ice cream.  The balsamic vinegar had reduced to a sweet, deep brown syrup, and I dribbled glistening tablespoons over each serving.  The pine nuts–now caramel-colored and crisp–were strewn into each dish, and with bowls and spoons, we sat down to our dessert.

Can such an odd combination be comforting?  It was.  We each held a little bowl of creamy comfort, but it wasn’t too much.  The throat-catching sweetness of the vinegar countered the tangy richness of the yogurt, while the pine nuts added texture to the unremitting creaminess.   I wanted to hug the bowl to my chest and wallow in the comfort, but I refrained. 

I did, however, lick the bowl.

Published in: on February 2, 2008 at 8:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Just Because It’s 2 Degrees. . . .

Er, yeah.  I made ice cream again.

Just accept that I have a condition, people!

And anyway, it wasn’t THAT cold yesterday.  (It is now, but no matter).

It started a few weeks ago when I bought a new kind of tea–blackcurrant.  I used to drink blackcurrant herbal tea when I was growing up, but then the herbal variety was discontinued, and only available as a flavored black tea.  Leaving aside my inability to deal with caffeine, I don’t much like the taste of black tea.  In my opinion, the tea overwhelmed the flavor of the blackcurrant; this is probably the way it was supposed to be, but I was still unhappy. 

So, I was sans blackcurrant tea for almost a decade.  When I saw an entirely herbal blackcurrant tea for sale at (of all places) a wine shop, though, I bought it immediately.  It’s not quite as good as I remember–probably because it’s a different brand and thus a different formulation–but it’s aggressively curranty, naturally sweet, and has a lovely purple color. 

On the afternoon when I had my third or fourth cup of the tea, I was thumbing through my favorite ice cream cookbook–if I don’t have a dessert to have with my cup of tea, I’ll read about desserts instead.  Lo, there near the center of the book was a recipe for blackcurrant tea ice cream.  I’ve seen plenty of recipes for plain blackcurrant ice cream or sorbet, but never for one where the only blackcurrant presence is that of tea.  For the next two weeks I hemmed and hawed a bit, due to the weather, but then, of course, I made it. 

I brought three cups of sweetened cream to a boil, added two blackcurrant tea bags, then turned off the heat and covered the pan.  I let the mixture infuse for about 2 hours (the recipe only calls for 1 hour, but I got distracted), then removed the tea bags, squeezing out all of the curranty juices. 

The color of cream immediately turned an odd shade of grey.  Hmm.  Not entirely appealing.  It did, however, taste fantastic, so I persevered. 

I whisked three eggs together until smooth, then tempered them with a bit of the cream, which was still quite warm.  (It is a mystery to me how my house, which is consistently far colder than the thermostat reading, has a hot spot around the stove where NOTHING ever gets cold.  It’s great for proofing dough, though).  I poured the tempered eggs into the pan with the infused cream, turned the heat back on to low, and began whisking.  It took about 10 minutes for the eggs to thicken the mixture into a custard; once it had done so, I poured it through a sieve into a big tupperware container, and slid it into the fridge. 

What with one thing and another it was several days before I managed to get the custard frozen; the wait was definitely worth it, though.  The fruitiness of the black currant was still the dominant flavor, but the background of creamy custard smoothed out its forcefulness.  I was a little offput by the greyish color, but, as Teacherman  pointed out, the tone wasn’t too far from that of a green tea ice cream; this made me feel considerably better. 

The recipe made only a few servings, but we made the most of them.  The first night we savored the ice cream by itself, but the second we served it with chocolate sauce.  I’d heard that chocolate and blackcurrant were an excellent flavor match, but I couldn’t imagine it.  It’s true–they’re perfect for each other, but I can’t really describe how.  The closest I can come is to suggest that the combination is similar to raisins and chocolate, but that isn’t really it at all.

There’s a simple solution to this dilemma, though: you’ll all just have to make the ice cream yourselves, and tell me what you think.  And then I’ll have to make it again, to see if I agree.

Published in: on January 30, 2008 at 1:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Maybe I Should Have Waited till February

What’s that? You’re telling me that it’s 15 degrees and snowing?

Shut up! I can still make ice cream if I want to!

You might have noticed that I have this obsession. I don’t think a week has gone by in over a year when I didn’t make some kind of frozen dessert. Sorbet, ice cream, semifreddo; I’ve made them all. And I just haven’t stopped. In fact, I have so many ideas that I can’t believe that I’ll ever stop, simply because then the ideas would weigh on my mind.

Tonight we made blood orange sherbet. (I don’t really care for the word ‘sherbet’, but what we made was definitely in between ice cream and sorbet, thus: sherbet). I’ve been waiting for blood oranges to hit the stores since November, when I saw the Bon Appetit magazine recipe for cranberry-blood orange-ginger relish. The first glimpse of them was last Sunday, when I fell upon the display and carried four enormous specimens back to my lair.

<cough>

Kitchen.

But anyway. I hadn’t planned to use them in a frozen dessert, but the relish recipe only called for one blood orange, and as delicious as it was, I didn’t want to make it four times over. Instead, in an impromptu cupboard raid, I made them into sherbet.

I stripped the zest from all three remaining oranges, then supremed each one. I put the zest and juice from all three, and the flesh from two into my food processor and blended them into a puree, along with a can of light coconut milk. (Impromptu=lack of dairy products in the fridge). I sweetened it just a tiny bit–these blood oranges were sweeter than any others I’ve ever had–added the flesh of the last orange, chopped up into small squares, and then poured the mixture into a tupperware container. I chilled it for, as it turns out, 48 hours (Monday night was busier than expected), and then froze it my indefatigable ice cream maker.

It was, as expected, pretty divine. Every year I forget that blood oranges taste different than regular oranges, and every year I’m surprised by their mellow sweetness. The churned consistency of the sherbet was light, completely lacking in ice crystals, and actually fluffy. I can think of no good comparisons to other textures–one might say that it was almost like substantial, solid cotton candy. It was also, to continue the cotton candy comparison, bright pink. (Unlike cotton candy, however, it was not tooth-achingly sweet and flavorless).

The blood orange flavor was also astonishingly bright and pure, even though there was a can–nearly two cups–of coconut milk involved. There was no coconut flavor to speak of, but I’m sure it contributed to the texture. Unlike many ice creams that I make, I have no desire to eat the remainder with a sauce or a mix in: I want to experience this flavor and this texture over again, just as it is.

There are four more servings in the freezer, and I can’t wait to eat them. It’s supposed to be 7 degrees tomorrow? Shhhh.

Published in: on January 16, 2008 at 8:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Things Which Are Not Good Even When Famous Chefs Say They Are

Avocado Ice Cream.

Honestly. 

I love avocados.  Unreservedly love them.  I make guacamole every week or so, throw avocados into salads, salsas, relishes, casseroles, gloopy dishes of leftovers, anything.  I’ve never met an avocado I didn’t like. 

Until now.

There’s a new ice cream cookbook out this year with which I’ve had tremendous success.  Every recipe I’ve tried (especially the chocolate ice cream recipe) has been, if not earth-shattering (though many of them were), at least Extremely Excellent.  I’ve churned my way through almost half of the ice creams, sorbets and granitas and even dabbled among the toppings with nary a failure. 

Now, though–now I have been arrested by the aforementioned Avocado Ice Cream.

Some of you may wonder why on earth anyone would use avocados in sweet applications anyway.  And it’s true; in America they’re mostly used in savory ways.  I have it on good authority, however, that in the South and Middle American countries where they  grow, avocados are used as what they really are–a fruit.  Avocado milk-shakes are apparently one of the most popular ways of eating the things, period–guacamole notwithstanding.

AND, it must be admitted–I’ve made an avocado dessert before.  More than a year ago I made a chocolate-espresso-avocado mousse.  It was quite good.  The texture was creamy and as smooth as butter; the flavor was more chocolately than unadulterated chocolate–presumably the fat content of the avocado heightened the richness and aroma.  The color was a little grey-ish, but it light of its other, more positive attributes, the dish was counted as a success.  I knew then about avocado ice cream and avocado milkshakes–I’d even been planning to make one of those before I tried the avocado-chocolate combination.  Somehow I didn’t, though, until this year.

So.  I made avocado ice cream.  It’s really very simple: you blend the ripe avocados into cream and/or milk and/or sour cream, add sweetener, lime juice, a little salt, and you’re done.  Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker and you have avocado ice cream.

The problem, though, with the avocado ice cream that you have (or at least with the avocado ice cream that I have) is that it tastes bad.  It’s funky and off and even kind of, well, rancid.  It tases faintly of the smell of nuts gone bad, away in a forgotten cupboard.  It’s not so bad that it can’t be eaten, but frankly, I can’t figure out why anyone would want to make this. 

I tasted each of the ingredients individually, while I was making it–each one tasted fine.  In was only in combination that the unfortunate, dank overtones appeared.  They were present in the unfrozen mixture–I tasted it and thought: “Somehow this will be different when frozen, surely!”  Alas, no.  It stayed just as it was–faintly wrong, perplexingly dubious.  Off.

Avocados, though, are expensive.  So we ate all of it, gradually working through the batch as the week went on.  I made a spiced ginger syrup to pour over the top, which obscured the odd flavor somewhat, but I can’t see making a dish that I’d know I’d have to work to disguise.

I will definitely not make avocado ice cream again.  The chocolate-espresso-avocado mousse?  Maybe.  I may go back to just eating guacamole.

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 9:53 pm  Comments (4)  

Strange Fruit

Everyone, meet the quince.  Quince?–Everyone.

What does it look like to you?  A squat pear?  An apple with a growth? 

Quinces are a fruit that used to be much more popular, both in early America and in medieval/renaissance Europe.  They were just as popular as the pear, just as well known as the apple.  There is one major difference, though, and this difference is the reason that quices are almost invisible today: they cannot be eaten raw.

Raw quinces are so rock hard that even a chef’s knife has a hard time cutting through one.  It helps to wedge the knife in somehow, and then bang it repeatedly against a cutting board, using gravity and the force of the whacks to drive the quince up onto the knife, rather than the knife through the quince. 

Once halved (or quartered, or what-have-you), quinces must be cored (very fiddly work–a small knife on an oak-dense interior), and then poached before becoming tender enough to eat.  Unsurprisingly, this is enough to scare away most casual fruit-lovers. 

I can’t remember when I first learned about quinces–surely it was one of my many books on the history of food, but given that most books claimed the fruit was no longer available, I didn’t give it much thought.  A few years ago, though, I found a section of quince recipes in a modern cookbook.  I had just rediscovered how wonderful fresh fruit was, and, intrigued by the idea of expanding my repertoire, copied the recipe down.  I really don’t know what I thought I’d do with it.

At least two years later, Teacherman and I were in a little bodega down the street and I saw–what was that?  A protuberant apple?  It’s color was so uniformly yellow-green.  And the skin was kind of wrinkly.  I looked up at the sign: “Quinces, $2 per lb.”

I bought ten, roughly 5 lbs, and then took them home and put them on the counter.  I stared at them for a few days, while my house slowly became suffused with an intoxicating smell that was both floral and fruity at the same time.  It almost smelled carbonated (if anything can smell carbonated), but it was also reminiscent of perfume–or at least what perfume ought to smell like. 

I bit the bullet and hacked into one, poaching it in a mixture of white wine and simple syrup, with no spices.  The unadorned flavor was a revelation.  The perfume and carbonation carried over into the cooked fruit, which had the texture of a perfectly poached pear–soft, but firm at the same time.  Yielding without being mealy. 

I immediately began experimenting with other poaching recipes.  I added cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans, star anise pods.  I poached in white wine, red wine, citrus juices.  I followed medieval recipes and baked it in the oven, tossed it with rosewater, spiced it with the fruity spears of long pepper, crushed into a powder.   

The next year I made jam and jelly, quince paste and puree.  Each batch was different and everyone got some for Christmas.

This year I find that I’m slightly less frantic.  I’ve poached quinces a couple of times, but that’s that.  I grated up two or three and stuffed them into a canning jar full of vodka, planning on a quince liqueur for Christmas.  It was only last week when I read an article on winter fruit desserts, catching an almost hidden, off-hand remark from the author.  Make quince sorbet, he suggested, and I immediately did. 

I peeled and cored three quinces, poached them in water, simple syrup and lemon juice until soft and then pureed them in my food processor.  The mixture was as thick as jelly–quinces have more natural pectin than almost any other fruit–and I added a bit more simple syrup and water to loosen it up. 

We froze it in our ice cream maker, just as it was.  The result was subtle in looks, but stunning in flavor.  The sorbet was a pale yellowish-peach, so pale that it might be better to call it off-white.  In trying to describe the texture, the only thing that comes to mind is applesauce, but frozen and whipped up like cream.  And the flavor?  The same lovely perfume is back, infusing dessert with that indescribable, exotic ‘carbonation.’ 

Quince, meet your match.  Match?–Quince.

Published in: on November 10, 2007 at 6:31 am  Leave a Comment