Some seasonal Autumn foods are around for a very short time and are then near impossible to find out of season (I have gone through the trauma of trying find a persimmon for a photo shoot in the middle of Spring!). The idea is to grab ’em while you can. Quinces are exquisite fruits that are intensely aromatic, tart and sweet all at the same time. They can be added to any dish that calls for apples to accentuate the flavour, or add some to your mix of roasted Autumn veggies for an unusual sweet bite. My mom will buy a case every season and make a huge batch of marmelada – the Portuguese quince jam which is set and sliced like a cheese. Because of their high pectin content, quinces make excellent jam. It also makes them very soothing for the digestive tract and they are an excellent food to eat to prevent inflammation in the gut.
This dish is an absolute must while fresh figs and quinces are available. The crisp crumble topping is made with tahini which gives the dish an incredible nutty flavour reminiscent of sesame halva. Serve it warm with a dollop of yoghurt and some raw honey. Divine.
For the quinces:
2 Quinces, peeled, cored and cut into rough cubes
Whole spices (I used 3 cardamom, 2 cloves, a star anise and a cinnamon stick)
6 Fresh Figs (about 200g)
For the Halva topping:
1 Cup Rolled Oats
1/4 Cup Chickpea (Gram) Flour
45ml Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Tahini (light)
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Mixed Spice
- Pre-heat oven to 18oC
- Place the cubed quince into a saucepan and add enough water to cover. Add whole spices to taste (be bold!). Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 20-25 minutes until tender. Drain and remove spices.
- Rinse and trim the figs and cut into eighths. Combine with the quinces and place in an oven proof dish.
- For the halva topping combine all ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon to combine. Rub gently with fingers to form a crumble (think granola!).
- Cover the fruit with the topping and press down gently. Don’t press too hard as you want this to crumble when serving. Bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes until golden.
- Serve warm with a dollop of thick yoghurt and honey.
TIP: can easily be made in individual portions too. Use ramekins or small enamel mugs. No need to grease.