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
- 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
- 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.