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!

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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!

 

 

Rhubarb Yogurt Cake

I make this cake every spring when rhubarb starts showing up in the farmers’ markets and now also in my very own garden.

rhubarb sliced for yogurt cakeRhubarb Yogurt Cake (adapted from my cousin Mary Lane)

This cake is not very sweet so if you like sweeter desserts I would add a few tablespoons of honey or maple syrup in additional to the brown sugar.

4 cups rhubarb, sliced thinly
1/4 cup butter (softened if you have time but not necessary)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (loosely packed)
Grated zest of 1/2 an orange or 1 lemon (skip if you don’t have on hand)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 cup whole wheat pastry and 1 cup all -purpose)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole-milk yogurt

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 9 x 13 cake pan.

Cream butter with a wooden spoon, add zest and sugar and cream together until well blended. Whisk in egg and vanilla, add flour, soda and salt and finally yogurt and then rhubarb until mixed. Do not over mix. Spread batter in prepared in pan and bake until golden around the edges and tester comes out clean about 25 minutes. It will seem a bit soft but firms up as it cools.

rhubarb yogurt cake

 

Serve as is or with lightly sweetened whipped cream if you’d like.