You can make this with just pears if that’s all you have to hand, but quince adds a beautiful aromatic note.
The quince needs to be poached first, to soften it; if your pears are unripe, add them to the poaching for the last 10–20 minutes, or until they’re soft. This recipe presumes ripe pears. The topping is as dark, complex and rubbly as the apple and blackberry one (page 47 of the November 2017 issue) is light and simple.
1 quince, peeled, cored and quartered
2 tbsp sugar
8 ripe pears, peeled, cored and quartered
2 tbsp apple juice
Juice of 1 lemon
For the crumble:
150g spelt/rye flour
75g demerara sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
100g almonds, roughly chopped
For the almond custard:
There are a few ways to make this, using the vanilla custard recipe (opposite) as your starting point. In summer you can infuse the milk with a handful of peach or nectarine leaves before you start on the custard: scald the milk with the leaves in it and leave to infuse while it cools, then strain and use the milk as per the recipe. For a cheat’s version, add a little almond essence once the custard is made, tasting as you add. And for a grown- ups-only version, add a shot or two of amaretto to the finished custard.
1 Poach the quince in a saucepan of water with the sugar for around 30 mins, or until softened. Slice. Meanwhile, toss the pears in the apple and lemon juice.
2 Preheat oven to 190C/Fan 170C/ 375F. Tip the fruit into a baking dish and pour over around 240ml of the quince poaching juice or some apple juice.
3 For the crumble, rub the butter roughly into the flour, then add the sugar, oats, ginger and almonds and rub them in a little, too. Sprinkle the mixture over the fruit and bake in the preheated oven for around 30 mins, or until the top has browned.