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Helene Dujardin

This is going to be a short post I fear today. I can’t shake this cold and can somebody tell me why it is 70F after midnight….talk about throwing a migraine into the loop!!

It’s December for crying out loud!! Time for mulled wine, sweaters, fireplaces, clementines, hot cocoa, pomegranates, and quinces. Instead the fall/winter produce stalls have to share their space with berries and juicy melons. Upside down, inside out…completely out of the box, which is kind of where I went with this cake. Innocent looking cake, filled with poached quinces, topped with berries, baked and served in a box used for Brie or Camembert instead.

The idea came to me over lunch the other day as we were finishing the last of the Brie and while we were planning our friend J.’s birthday party for Friday. J. is a prankster. A good one for sure but it’s pretty much non stop with him. A get together with him and his wife is never just that.

On the ride to their house, we are always wondering what he’s got in store, who will be involved and how long we are going to talk about it on the way back home. They’re nice pranks but after so many years, we are all scheming on how and when to get him back. All in good fun. Well, except for a couple of us like F. who is ready for pay back since the day he found his motorcycle on the roof of his house…long story…

Poached Quince Cake In Brie Box

I figured that handing him a cheese box at dessert time was still a little obvious so I topped the cake with different fruits, strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate, grapes and glazed them all with some apple jelly. That way, he would still be unsure about what was underneath.

I got B. fooled so I am hoping that will work too. Can’t take credit for the look novelty as I inspired by the look of one of my pastry bad boy, Michalak. I had already decided to use my tried and true cake recipe but I could not pass on his cute presentation. And no, the cake did not smell of stinky cheese…

Ever tried to apply fruit glaze or jelly to fruits over tart shells or cakes and they keep moving, rolling around and never staying put? Imagine applying glaze to a beautiful lemon curd tart topped with a gazillion rolling blueberries. Not that easy!

Here is my trick for stress free glazing: warm up your glaze so that it is very liquid in consistency, fill a travel size spray bottle with it and spray your tart or cake with the glaze as quickly as possible.


Poached Quince And Red Fruit Cake:

Makes 2 cakes, 4 inches round

For the poached quince:

1 quince, peeled, cored and sliced

2 cups water

1/4 cup (50gr) sugar

3 cloves

1 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon lemon zest

In a large saucepan set over medium high heat, place the quince and the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook the quince for about 45 minutes, until soft and pink. Remove the quince from the liquid and let cool to room temperature.

For the cake:

3 eggs

1/2 cup (100gr) sugar

1/2 cup (115gr) sour cream

1 cup (135gr) cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 tablespoons (60 gr) butter, melted and cooled

About one cup of mixed berries or any fruit of your liking

About 1/2 cup apple jelly to glaze the fruits

Preheat oven to 350F. Line the top and bottom part of a Brie or Camember box with parchment paper or aluminium foil. Coat with cooking spray and set aside.

In a mixer, whip the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Add the flour, baking powder and melted butter and mix on medium high speed until all the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

Stop the mixer and by hand fold in the poached quince. Divide the batter among the cake “pans” and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool completely. Top the cakes with the fruits and apply the apple jelly, previously warmed up until spreadable.

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