Quince Biscuit Pie

The quince is a beautiful fruit. The astringent cousin of apples and pears, it requires cooking to make it palatable. Cooking also magically turns the apple-like white flesh, to a ruby red/pink color. Ta-da! Quince are in season right now and it is a perfect time to try this beautifully perfumed fruit (it is one of my favorite smells!). The most common kitchen application is to make a jam or paste, which is delicious alongside a slice of salty cheese, like Manchego. But quince also find their way into baked goods like this biscuit pie.

This recipe takes a little time (quinces are slow to cook) but is well worth your efforts. The quince are poached with maple syrup and vanilla bean and then topped with a tender biscuit dough. I liked eating this for breakfast or with tea in the afternoon. It is best made in the morning of the day you plan on eating it, but keeps for a day or two in the fridge.

BONUS! This recipe leave you with a couple of cups of poaching liquid that is too flavorful and delicious to throw away. Tomorrow I will have a very wonderful use for that juice. Stay tuned!

Quince Biscuit Pie (adapted slightly from Martha Stewart Living, November 2010)

FOR THE FILLING

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 quinces, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

FOR THE TOPPING

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds

FOR THE MAPLE CREAM

  • 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • Garnish: confectioners’ sugar

Directions

Make the filling: Bring water, maple syrup, granulated sugar, quinces, and vanilla seeds and pod to a simmer in a large pot over medium heat. Cover with parchment, and cook until quinces are soft and rosy pink, about 2 hours. Discard vanilla pod. Don’t panic if your quince isn’t turning rosy and pink, it happens late in the process, and occasionally doesn’t happen much at all.

Preheat oven to 375° F. Make the topping: Sift together flour, cornmeal, granulated sugar, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt, and then sift again. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal with some large pieces remaining. Make a well in the center. Pour in cream; stir until combined.

Transfer quinces to a medium bowl using a slotted spoon. Add 1 cup poaching liquid (reserve the remaining poaching liquid, it is delicious) and the cornstarch, and toss to combine. Pour quinces with juices into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Arrange large spoonfuls of topping mixture around outer edge of pie, leaving a space in the center. Sprinkle almonds on top, and bake until liquid is bubbling and topping is golden, about 50 minutes. Let cool completely. Seriously, let it cool. Unlike many things, this doesn’t taste better warm.

Make the maple cream: Whisk cream with a mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Fold in maple syrup. Garnish pie with confectioners’ sugar. Serve with maple cream.

27 comments to “Quince Biscuit Pie”

  1. You had us at biscuit pie. Then you had us again at…”for breakfast.” This looks sublime!

  2. Another fresh and unique recipe with beautiful photos to match – thank you! I must say I’m more intrigued by the idea of quince jam at the moment (as a means to eat more good cheese) but after my first dabble with them, I think this will need to be tried out!

  3. Oh yum! I have been addicted to a pecan maple tart all fall so far, but I’m going to give this a whirl! Thanks for sharing.

  4. hey tim,
    your photographs jump off the screen…bright, bold & beautiful!

    just to confirm…after the 2 hr. poaching time (even if the quince are not pink & rosy) transfer to bowl…thanks!

  5. Hi Linda,
    You just want to make sure the quince is cooked and soft. The time/color do not matter as much as that. It took me a little over 2 hours to get there.

  6. Still haven’t tried quince yet. Shame on me. I think this is the holiday season I break the barrier, and possibly with this amazing biscuit pie! Leave it to Martha to think of this… Excited for your poaching liquid recipe, too!

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

  7. So gorgeous! I sit here and salivate.

  8. Stunning looking pie. I haven’t had much quince before so my friend just gave me a jar of quince jam and I am in love with the flavour. When quince comes into season down here I would love to try this pie recipe.

  9. Joe, try it when they come into season! I hadn’t done much with it in the past but have already made two batches of marmalade and this pie.

  10. I love quince but have had tunnel vision with the fruit, unable to see beyond quince jam and poached quince. This makes me wish that I had considered quince when making a crisp yesterday. That’s a gorgeous pie!

  11. I never have had used quince in cooking. Pie looks so beautiful and gorgeous. It makes me hungry now. Beautiful pics! :)

  12. Hi Tim. I know we are both in the Chicago area. Any regional orchards that grow this little gem?

  13. Hi Janine,
    I got them from the woman at Green City Market that sells all of the Asian pears. One of the vendors at Oak Park’s Farmers market also sold them. I know that Whole Foods has them is stock now, but I don’t know if they are from local growers.

  14. I haven’t had much quince, but my interest is definitely piqued! I know so little about them that I had no idea its flavor could be thought of in the same category as apples and pears. Thank you for the info; I’m going to keep an eye out for them.

  15. I love that you have afternoon tea. And that you eat biscuit pie with it. :o)

  16. i can only imagine the aroma of “ancient kitchen” coming from your kitchen….

  17. I love the look of the topping that’s crowning your Quince Biscuit Pie. Seems like you could put that on top of almost any fruit and it would be amazing. Crumble it on top of yogurt even and treat it almost like it’s granola. And sliced almonds in there – wonderful!

  18. Do you know that I have never made anything with quince? Every year around this time, I think of all the delicious – and beautiful – things I could make… and then I never do. Maybe this is the year. That color! It always does me in. Gorgeous.

  19. Oh- the aroma of that in the oven must be a-maz-ing! I’m gonna have to seek out some quince at the market this weekend!

  20. Made this yesterday and it’s delicious. But I do kind of think that the cup of maple syrup in the poaching liquid might be a bit of a waste. That stuff’s expensive! Next time I’ll poach with just regular sugar, and maybe top the biscuit with some maple sugar or something like that.

  21. Hey Brian,
    Glad you liked it. It would also be good without the maple syrup (with additional sugar added) but would be a totally different flavor. Brighter. Worth a try!

  22. Hey, thanks. I know the Asian pear woman at Green City and that’s local enough for me!

  23. i saw this in the magazine, too, and it looks so good. after reading your post, i’ll make it this week!

  24. looks heavenly. a technical question: you cover the pot with parchment? how does that work? pardon my ignorance.

    glorious blog – i try your recipes all the time and have never been disappointed. thank you!

    - ayesha

  25. Hi Ayesha,
    Thanks for the nice message. In terms of the parchment: you cut our a circle of parchment that is the same size as the bottom of pot (just like if you were lining the bottom of cake pan) and then you just put it directly on top on the quinces/poaching liquid. The parchment is actually floating on top of the mix, touching it (it gets wet). It will just sort of float on top and keep liquid from evaporating too quickly. When you need to stir the mix, I just use tongs to peel the parchment back and access the liquid/quince mixture. I hope that makes sense!

  26. yes it does, thanks for explaining!

  27. wow! i am all over this. i have preserved quince in rose syrup that looks like it will be a perfect fit for the biscuit topping!

What do you think?