Have Quince? Make This! (Apples and/or Pears would also work)

A bunch of leftover-sliced baguette, a bit of ricotta and a bowl of quince turned into this magic yesterday. The idea for this cook-with-what-you-have Ofenschlupfer (say that five-times in a row, quickly:) came to me as I was biking home from a bi-monthly breakfast I cook, with said leftover baguette in tow. Ofenschlupfer is a German variation of bread pudding and I grew up eating it in the fall made with apples. But quince! Quince, with all their tart, fragrant, wonder take this to another level. I just had a bowl of it for lunch. I could not help myself!

I tossed this together without referencing any Ofenschlupfer recipes but the basic combination of egg, milk, sugar, spices, bread, and fruit is pretty forgiving and you could just as easily dice stale bread instead of keeping the slices whole, substitute apples and or pears (bosc or other variety that will holds its shape when cooked) and change up the spices. But do be on the look-out for quince!

The cook with what you have philosophy of using what you have, combining things creatively for maximum flavor and fun in the kitchen is at your finger tips through the Seasonal Recipe Collection. Imagine getting ideas for any vegetable or herb you have on hand! Subscribe, if you haven’t already! Use discount code FALL for 20% off the already reasonable price for just $3.99/month or $39/year!

 

Quince Ricotta Ofenschlupfer (Bread Pudding)

 

For the quince:

4 medium quince, cored and peeled and cut into chunks (quince are very hard and this takes a bit of doing but it’s worth it, I promise)

2 strips of lemon peel (use a vegetable peeler)

2/3 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

 

For the custard:

3 large eggs

1 cup (whole) milk

2/3 cup ricotta (that’s what I had leftover–you could add up to 1 cup for a slightly richer version)

Zest of half a lemon (or whatever you didn’t use for the quince), finely grated

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Couple pinches salt

 

8 ounces sliced bread/baguette (nothing too whole wheat or dense here)

Butter to grease the pan

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons turbinado (or regular granulated) sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350

 

Put the quince, strips of lemon peel, 1/3 cup sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook gently, covered, for about 7-10 minutes until the quince are just tender but still holding their shape. The time may vary a bit depending on your quince but check often since some turn to mush quickly.

 

In a medium bowl whisk the eggs with the milk, ricotta, grated lemon zest, spices, sugar and salt.

 

Generously butter an 8 x 13 or comparable baking dish. Put a single layer of bread in the dish. Pour half the custard over the bread and top it with half the quince. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, finishing with quince and drizzle any liquid from the quince over the top. Gently press down on the whole thing to make sure the bread is soaked. Dot top with butter and sprinkle evenly with the sugar. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 30-40 minutes, but check a bit earlier, until the custard is almost set. Remove foil and bake until set, finishing under the broiler for a little more browning. Serve hot or warm for dessert or breakfast, lunch or dinner!

 

 

Cooking With What You Have (No Matter Where You Are)

People love the cook! This is I think why I started cooking when I was quite young. My mother suffered from migraines and when she was out of commission I started cooking for my family. The house was a sad place when my mother was sick and I hated it. My only fond memories of those times were when my brothers and father liked the food I made and told me so.

 

I just returned from a few days in Mexico with 8 friends. I hadn’t planned on cooking the majority of our meals but once there, I couldn’t help myself. The loveliest sous chefs and the rousing appreciation made it a joy.

 

We were in a house that was stocked with nothing but salt, some ancient looking bouillon powder (which lead to an excellent risotto btw), cinnamon and black pepper. A stop at a local grocery store for oil, butter, fresh produce and herbs, rice, eggs and tortillas and chicken (superb chicken with the most beautiful yellow fat) set me up. The local fish market rounded things out. I cooked day after day, each morning a frittata repurposed the leftovers from the night before. I didn’t miss my very-well-stocked home pantry.  It was a much-needed reminder of how little we need to nourish ourselves well (if we have the means to purchase basic ingredients, that is); how very versatile a frittata is; that people (at least this group) are perfectly happy eating the same (template) dish day after day; and the joy of being creative with what you have!

 

Frittata (template)

You can start from scratch of course and sauté some onion, add some vegetables and then cover with barely beaten eggs with or without cheese and cook (on the stove top and then finished under the broiler) until set. Or you can heat up leftovers–already cooked vegetables, rice, pasta, meat, etc. and then top with egg, cheese, herbs, etc.

 

On this trip I repurposed leftover rice pilaf that originally included poblano peppers, onion garlic and cilantro. Another day it was a sweet potato hash seasoned with lots of lime juice and cilantro and another it was leftover roasted chayote and zucchini and bacon. The sky is the limit, just don’t over beat the eggs–really just break them up, don’t skimp on the salt and try not to burn it under the broiler! And let it cool for a bit before eating. Frittatas are much more flavorful warm or room temp, than piping hot.

 

Happy cooking!

 

Want to get more comfortable cooking like this, using what you have with confidence and creativity? Subscribe to the Seasonal Recipe Collection for 20% off with discount code FALL!