Simply Quince is the first tribute to the quince in culinary history. Barbara Ghazarian masterfully presents the tree fruit’s versatility, floral aroma, and unique flavor and color in 70 easy, trendsetting recipes, full of legend, history, culture, and scientific tidbits. Simply Quince contains a myriad of new ways to prepare quince for both the formal and casual dining experience.
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Quince is a Persian fruit that is thought by some to be the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. From the outside, it looks like a combination of an apple and a lemon. The fruit feels as solid as a baseball. When peeled, the interior is a cross between an apple, pear, and jicama. The scent is reminiscent of apples and slightly floral. Barbara Ghazarian’s love of quince started when she was a little girl. Her grandmother had quince trees in the yard and when the fruit turned golden yellow in color, a rose-like fragrance filled the air. Observing her grandmother preparing ruby-red quince preserves started Barbara on the path of "quincing" and taking over the family tradition. Note: it requires poaching of the quince before incorporating it into each dish. Barbara includes an easy basic poaching recipe. It is best to poach the day before, allowing for cooling time and sparing you the poaching time on the day of actual preparation. In the Sensational Sides chapter, Creamy Cauliflower-Quince Gratin caught my eye. This would be a great side dish at Thanksgiving. • What we liked: Breadcrumb-parmesan topping; Savory and slightly sweetness play of the quince and the cauliflower, garlic flavor; Consistency of the cream sauce base • Creative additions and changes: Crispy bacon adding into the topping or tossed with the cauliflower-quince mixture for crunchy texture and saltiness; Experimenting with broccoli instead of cauliflower; Adding more Asiago cheese • Rating: 4/5 stars In the Compotes, Buckles, Crisps, and Crumbles chapter, Brandied-Quince Buckle sounded interesting. Actually the word, buckle, was the most interesting. A Buckle is a type of cobbler made of cake batter with the fruit filling mixed in. The finished product reminded me of a fruit-filled coffee cake. • What we liked: Apple cinnamon flavor and texture; Spongy coffee cake like texture • Creative additions and changes: Scoop of vanilla ice cream on top; Serve with coffee • Rating: 5/5 stars In the Afternoon Tea chapter, Caramelized Quince Upside-Down Cake sounded really good. When you think of upside-down cake, you think pineapple. But quince is a very interesting take on this common dessert. • What we liked: Almond background flavor; Sweet caramel sauce • Creative additions and changes: Use the brandied-quince poaching recipe from the buckle recipe for a nicer color and more apple-like flavor; Poached quince in this recipe seemed a bit grainy and heavy; Top with ice cream. • Rating: 3.2/5 stars