It’s February. It’s dark. It’s cold. It’s wet. It could be miserable… but there’s a golden light at the end of the tunnel! A light that certainly lifted my spirits out of the ick as soon as I spotted a soft yellow-golden glow beneath the pile of apples in my pantry – and I hope I can spread that comforting glow out to you guys with this recipe as well~
Rather than boring you guys with yet another “Ode to Quince”, I’ll jump right in, leaving you with a short note along the lines of “I loooove quinces” and the resulting recipe for a double-team quince dessert that highlights both the hugging sweetness and refreshing zing of these golden globes in one fell swoop~ Just a quick strategy-note in advance: pick whichever component you want to showcase as the top-layer and start prepping the other one first. Both need a bit of time to cool/set before the other one can be layered on top. Starting with the compote is easier – since you might need a couple of spoonfuls for the mousse unless you go with the jelly-alternative listed below. Other than that, it’s purely an eye-candy decision to make.
These amounts will net you 6-8 servings
The Quince Compote
1 Lemon – you’ll need 1 Tsp Juice and 1 strip of Peel for the Compote. Stir the rest of the juice into a bowl of water to keep the quinces from browning as you prep them
½ Orange – 3 Tbsp Juice and 2 strips of Peel
40g Brown Sugar
50ml Apple or Pear Juice
25ml/1 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
100ml Dry White Port
100ml Prosecco – if the quinces are a bit unripe
Alt: 100ml Dry White Wine – if the quinces are perfectly ripe. Riesling is an excellent choice for this. Don’t forget: one glass into the pot, one glass into the cook~
¼ Cinnamon Stick
1 Small Star Anise
8 Green Cardamom Pods
1cm Ginger, finely sliced
½ Vanilla Pod or 4-5 Drops of Vanilla Extract
¼ Tsp Ground Allspice
8 Black Peppercorns
1 Pinch of Hot Chilli Flakes
1 Generous Pinch of Salt
1 Large Quince, defuzzed, peeled, cored and sliced into thin segments or 1cm cubes – dump them into a bowl with cold lemon water as you go to keep them from browning
2 Tsp Cornstarch
1) Set a pot large enough to hold your quince slices or cubes onto medium heat and sprinkle in the sugar.
2) Once it’s melted and well on its way to turn a light brown around the edges, take a safety-step back and deglaze the caramel with the lemon and orange juices.
3) Stir the lot until nothing’s sticking to the bottom of the pot anymore, then pour in the apple or pear juice, port and prosecco.
4) Send the spices swimming in the liquid and allow the mixture to work up a gentle simmer.
5) Turn the heat down to medium-low and, stirring from time to time, give the spices about 5 mins to infuse the syrup.
6) Add the quinces to the syrup and leave them to simmer, soak up the spices and tenderize for 15-20 mins.
7) Pop a fine sieve on top of a second pot and pour the contents of the first pot through, catching the syrup in the pot beneath.
8) Turn the heat to high and allow the syrup to work up a merry bubble.
9) In the meantime, nudge your way through the quinces trapped in the sieve and hunt down the loose spices – just to be safe, count them before throwing them out.
10) Pick up a small bowl, add the starch and a bit of cold water and whisk the lot into a smooth paste.
11) Turn the heat beneath the syrup pot down to low and stir in the starch once the bubbly action has calmed down.
12) Leave the liquid to simmer for 2 mins, then gently fold in the quinces again.
13) Take the pot off the heat and set it aside until its contents have cooled off.
14) Transfer it into your pick of dessert-serving-container if you want the compote to be the bottom layer or cover the cooled-off pot if your compote will end up on top.
15) Whichever arrangement you’re going with, place the container holding the compote for now in the fridge for the time being and move on to the mousse.
The Quince – Yoghurt Mousse
4 Leaves of Gelatine – for a completely vegetarian version you can use agartine or a pectin-based substitute, just check it’s packaging for the right amounts to substitute the gelatine.
300g Quince Compote – this works extraordinarily yumtastic with a cheat-jar of quince jelly, by the way~ make extra sure you’re using a mild, low-fat yoghurt and cream in that case though, otherwise the dairy might overpower the jelly.
Opt: If you’re using the jelly shortcut, fish a couple of quince chunks out of your compote and submerge them in the mousse once it’s in your pick of serving dishes just to make a point~
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Orange Juice
150g Low Fat Natural Yoghurt
100g Low Fat Cream, 9-12%
Alt: Substitute the low-fat dairy products with normal cream and greek yoghurt if you don’t mind the mousse ending up on the heavier side of things – and only if you’re using a part of your compote to spice up the mousse, since quince jelly isn’t always stong enough to compete with full-power dairy.
1) Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5-6 minutes.
2) Meanwhile purée the compote with a stick blender until it’s smooth – if you want to make extra-sure there’s not a single gain on your tastebuds later on, pass the pureé through a fine sieve. Transfer the results of your labor into a mixing bowl after making sure ythere’s enough space in your fridge for it.
3) Have a taste and sweeten the purée with honey if necessary.
4) Pick up the gelatine leaves and give squeeze out any excess water before placing them in a small pot sitting on low heat.
5) Add the lemon and orange juice along with 1-2 tbsp of the quince purée and stir the lot until the leaves are completely integrated into the purée. In case you went with the jelly alternative, simply add the whole jar and, stirring slowly, dissolve the structure along with the gelatine and juice in the low heat.
6) Use a rubber spatula to transfer the gelatine’d into the „main“ bowl holding your purée.
7) Grab a whisk and re-integrate the altered purée into the original batch.
8) Fold in the yoghurt – keep at it until the two are well combined.
9) Cover the bowl with clingfilm and pop it into the fridge for about 10 to 15 minutes.
10) In the meantime, whip up your throroughly chilled cream with a handheld until the whisks, when pulled out, leave soft’ish (a little on the firmer side of things) peaks standing at attention behind. Pop it back into the fridge until the yoghurt mixture is ready.
11) As soon as the yoghurt-quince mixture begins to set, usually after 12-13 mins, add the the cream in spoonfuls and gently fold each addition into the mix until it’s very well incorporated.
12) Pour the mousse into the serving dishes of your choice and pop them into the fridge to set for at least five hours – or better, over night.
13) If said bowls/glasses/serving dishes were already halfway filled with the compote, you’re done~! Minus some moments for decorations, that is.
14) In case you’re the compote-on-top kind of person, gently spoon the compote onto the mousse after the mousse had its first 4-5 hours of setting-time in the fridge. If you notice a few bits sinking into the mousse on your first spoon, stop what you’re doing immediately and pop the mousse back in the fridge for 1-2 more hours and try again.
15) Either way, once the components are prettily layered, back into the fridge they go – for about an hour or until it’s time to ring the dinner bell~! Spoons out and…