Let's face it, I love to bake pies! I love fruit pies, custard pies, and savory pies, it really doesn't make any difference to me. All pies are welcome in my kitchen. However, there is one pie that is my absolute favorite pie of them all, and that pie is a fresh baked Quince and Apple Pie!
The key ingredient in this recipe is the quince. The quince is not widely available at your average grocery store. Check your local fruit stand or specialty store. Honestly, I had never even seen one until I moved to Sonoma county. I have a dear friend in Forestville, who provides me with this wonderful ancient fruit this time of year. When ripe, the quince turns to a yellow or yellow/green color, with a fuzzy skin kinda like a peach. The fruit remains very firm similar to an apple. The aroma is distinctly floral. Whenever I bring a basket of quince home, the whole house smells like a florist shop! Seriously. That said, I suppose you could peel and eat a fresh quince, but you would probably find the fruit to be very astringent and only mildly sweet. The real magic happens when you cook these babies! The fruit softens, takes on a pinkish hue, and becomes a wonderfully fragrant addition to many recipes, especially homemade pies. Quince is very high in pectin and generally does not require any additional thickener such as corn starch*. I could go on and on about the quince and its many unique characteristics, but it's time to make a pie so lets get started. Click "Read More" for the details...
Chop's Quince and Apple Pie
2 Prepared pie crusts*
3 - 4 Quince
3 - 4 Apples
3/4 cup Sugar*
5 Cardamom pods crushed and finely ground
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Tapioca starch*
3 Tbsp Butter
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
Begin by lining and fluting a 9 inch pie pan with the bottom crust and placing it in the refrigerator to stay chilled until you're ready. Do not prick the bottom and do not blind bake (pre-cook) this crust.
Peel and slice all of the quince and apples. Place the fruit in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, and tapioca starch. Gently toss all of the ingredients to coat thoroughly. Once everything is coated nicely, remove your prepared pie crust from the fridge and pour all of the fruit filling mixture into the pie crust. Be sure to scrape the mixing bowl to get all of the juice from the fruit in there! Dot the fruit with the 3 tablespoons of butter. Roll out and top the pie with the second prepared pie crust. Seal the edges and be sure to include a few decorative vents on the top of the pie, in order to avoid spills due to steam build up. Remember you wanna keep all of the good stuff inside the pie!
Bake the pie for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. After the first 30 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees for the remaining time until done. Total cooking time will vary from 1 to 1 hour and 45 minutes. It is all dependent upon the freshness of the fruit. Fresh-picked fruit is more moist than older fruit and will affect the cooking time. The pie filling should be bubbling and should not be watery. When done, allow the pie to cool completely if you can stand it! Resist the temptation to cut into the pie too early. Trust me it won't be easy. Your kitchen is going to smell absolutely lovely! Allowing the pie to cool completely will ensure that all of that wonderful filling stays put within each slice.
* Although quince and apples tend to be pretty high in pectin and do not "need" added thickeners, I still like to add just a bit of tapioca starch for aesthetics and a bit of insurance. Tapioca starch is my favorite thickener for most pies and sauces. Using tapioca starch in recipes yields a very clear and professional looking pie filling. Tapioca starch can also be added to hot or cold liquids without fear of getting lumpy. Other thickeners such as corn starch, simply cannot compare.
* The amount of sugar may vary. It depends upon the sweetness of the apples. I have found that older apples tend to require a bit more sugar than fresh ones.
* Feel free to use your favorite pie crust recipe or take a look at my crust recipe right here.