Saturday, December 24, 2016

Quince Cranberry Almond Bars


Happy Christmas Eve everyone! Here are some beautiful holiday bars to make this season. Yes, there's still time to make these for a post-Christmas celebration or a New Year's brunch. The recipe feeds a lot of people. A lot. Like 20.



They look so fancy, I should call them the Fresh Quince of Bel Air Bars.  Quince is still inhabiting our local markets. They do add a unique flavor to this recipe, However, you can easily substitute pears for the quince. 


The dried cranberries add a decorative and sweet-sour punch. The almonds add crunch (did I just rhyme there?)



The quinces are poached in a wine, honey, lemon concoction. You can do this a few days ahead to save time. 



We are a little out of sorts this Christmas, getting some work done on our house so dust and debris are replacing a tree and decorations this year but I'm well aware these are first world problems. We will be enjoying a beautiful slate floor by the new year. I've been living vicariously through other friends on FB gawking at their beautiful trees and decorations.

Enjoy your holidays!


Quince-Cranberry Almond Bars
Prep Time: 45 minutes

Bake Time 30 minutes
Yield: 20 pieces

Ingredients:
  • 3+ 1/2 lbs fresh quince
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 5 eggs, separated 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, plus 1/4 cup separated
  • 1 cup blanched almond splinters plus 1/4 cup, separated
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

  • Peel and core the quince. Cut the flesh into small pieces.
  • Place the pieces in a pot, add the wine, honey and lemon juice to the pan. Stir to combine.
  • Cook over a medium-high heat about 10 minutes or until the quince pieces are soft. 
  • Drain the quince well, reserving the juice in a separate bowl. Let the cooked quince cool completely. 
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Line a large baking sheet (11"x16") with parchment paper and lightly grease the paper.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the salt and beat until stiff peaks form.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the butter on a medium-high speed  until creamy. 
  • Slowly add the sugar to the butter, while beating. Beat in the lemon zest.
  • Make sure you stop the mixer occasionally and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  • When the batter comes together, turn the mixer on high and add the egg yolks, one at a time, making sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  • Lower the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredient. Mix until fully combined. 
  • Beat the egg whites into the batter.
  • Mix in the pre-cooked quince, dried cranberries and almond splinters. 
  • Spread the batter out on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  • Whisk together the reserved liquid and the powdered sugar.
  • When the cake has cooled completely, drizzle the icing over the top of the cake.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the cranberries and almond splinters over the top. When the icing has completely hardened, slice and serve the cake. 

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