Pouding de Coings

Quince Custard

Sometimes one comes upon a promising-looking recipe which, cooked, gives a disappointing result. This custard started that way. As a tart it was flabby and undistinguished but I felt that somewhere in the original recipe there was an attractive harmony of flavours that was worth pursuing. Of course, you may have more luck and you will be able to put the custard back in its pâté brisée case and triumph, but I prefer the filling on its own. The original recipe for a Bettelmann de coings was given by Ginette Mathiot and Lionel Poilâne; the latter runs a smart Parisian boulangerie and is the author of the highly entertaining and informative Guide de l’amateur de pain.

Ingredients

  • 225 g(8 oz) quinces
  • 115 g(4 oz) sugar
  • 275 ml(½ pt) milk
  • 30 g(1 oz) vanilla-flavoured sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • a few drops of vanilla essence
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon kirsch
  • 55 g(2 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs

Method

Peel and core the quinces, and cut into small slices. Dissolve the sugar in 275 ml(½ pt) water and boil fast for 4 minutes. Add the quinces and cook until tender. Use a slotted spoon to lift out the quinces and make a layer of them in the base of an ovenproof dish or a soufflé dish. Pour the syrup from the quinces into a small jug.

Heat the milk with the vanilla sugar until warm. Pour on to the beaten eggs and whisk in the vanilla essence, ground cinnamon and the kirsch. Stir in the breadcrumbs and pour over the quinces.

Bake the custard in a bain-marie in a moderate oven (Mark 4, 180°C, 350°F) for 30–40 minutes until set. Remove from the oven. Cool a little then serve warm with the quince syrup; or serve it cold.

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