A few baking projects of interest during the holiday season....
I made this membrillo a while back, but I didn't get around to blogging it. Membrillo is a thick quince jelly. It's sugary and gritty and quincy. Apparently it's a very popular item in Spain. Back when I had quince coming out of my ears, I made a huge batch of this stuff... but in truth, I don't really know what to do with it. I welcome your suggestions! I used this recipe, but the "cook for one hour" thing really wasn't working out. So, I just cooked it and cooked it and cooked it. Then I looked up the recipe on Saveur, and found that it recommends cooking for 15 hours. I think that's about what it took! What a culinary adventure. While there, I also noticed a few other intriguing vegan or veganizable quince recipes to try out next year. I can hardly wait!
A week or two ago, we were invited over to some friends' house for dinner, so I made this gorgeous and delicious "Pear and Cornmeal Tart" from "Healthy Hedonist." Wow! This tart was so beautiful and had such interesting and sophisticated flavors. There are three layers: a dense crust on the bottom, a cornmeal cake, and poached pears.
For Christmas I made two pies. First, a mince pie. Back at Thanksgiving, I asked my grandpa what was his favorite kind of pie. Immediately he said "Mince pie!" I'm sure I'm not the only one out here in Veganland totally freaked out by the word "mince meat," but I was happy when johnp over on the PPK forums mentioned that The Joy of Cooking had a great vegetarian mince pie. Sure enough, this recipe was super easy to veganize. It was a big hit with my grandpa and my cousin's British husband who said "Christmas isn't Christmas without a mince pie!" It's rich and strongly flavored... apples, walnuts, spices, apple juice, brandy, raisins... yum! This isn't the prettiest picture I took of it, but you can see the mince filling best in this one.
And I also made this lovely & delicious "Cranberry Orange Tart" from "Voluptuous Vegan." If you have this cookbook, I really recommend this delicious tart. It's got a crust with toasted flour, and a layer of almond butter, walnuts, and a cranberry-orange mix on top. Tart, sweet, and rich. Very nice and so beautiful... it's great for company.