AUTUMN AROMAS

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By Reggie Webb

Poached quinces and pears are this season’s favourite ingredients at The Cornershop in Yarraville

Head Chef Reggie Webb urges diners to enjoy quinces, which are in their prime in April and May.

“Quinces are one of the most aromatic fruits. Just because you can’t bite straight into them, doesn’t mean that they aren’t fresh and delicious. You can never rush a quince. You need to give a quince some time, love, care and attention, and the results will be worth it. The beauty of the fruit is that the cooking takes time, and the longer it takes to cook a quince, the better your home smells.”

Head to The Cornershop this month and try their quince and pear filo pie with crème anglaise, or better yet, impress your friends with Reggie’s pie recipe below.

Quince and pear filo pie

For the quinces

10 medium sized quinces

3 cups caster sugar

1 split vanilla bean

3 cinnamon sticks

2 whole cloves

4  cardamom pods

5 black peppercorns

Zest of one lemon

Water to cover

  • Peel and quarter quinces and place in an oven-safe dish
  • Add all other ingredients and cover with water.
  • Cook in the oven at a low temperature (100-120 degrees) for as long as possible (approximately 10 hours). You know the quinces are ready when they are a deep ruby colour and are tender to touch. If you have a slow cooker, follow the recipe and cook on low for eight hours or so.
  • Allow to cool in the syrup.

For the pears

10 medium-sized firm pears

3 cups caster sugar

1 split vanilla bean

Water to cover

  • Peel and quarter the pears and place in a pot. Add all the other ingredients to the pot and cover with water.
  • Cook on the stove top on medium heat for approx. 15 minutes or until the pear is just soft. Allow to cool in the syrup.

For the pie

Cooked quinces (cooled)

Cooked pears (cooled)

Filo pastry (bought from the local store)

A couple of big tablespoons of butter (melted)

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

  • Remove cores and dice quinces and pears. Place the two fruits in a bowl, leaving as much syrup behind as possible.
  • Brush your favourite pie dish with melted butter.
  • Brush 6 sheets of filo pastry with the melted butter.
  • Layer the filo sheets on top of each other in the pie dish like a + symbol, alternating quarter turns, with the excess pastry hanging over the sides.
  • Once all the six sheets are layered, gently press into the sides of the dish.
  • Pour fruit into the well in the centre. Fold the excess filo into the centre of the pie.
  • Brush the top of the now closed pie with a little bit of the melted butter.
  • Cook for approximately 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden and crispy.

Serve with your favourite cream or ice-cream.

Notes:

Quinces and pears can be cooked days in advance and kept in the fridge.

We use a bottomless pie ring sitting on a flat tray lined with baking paper. My wife used a round non-stick cake tin to make hers.

Extra spices can be added to the pears as you like.

The Cornershop is located at 11 Ballarat Street, Yarraville. Open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week, dinner Tuesday – Saturday.

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