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Perfect match: quince crumble cake and tawny port

Australian Gourmet Traveller wine match recipe for crème fraîche quince crumble cake.

By Alice Storey
  • Serves 10
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 4 hrs cooking plus cooling
Crème fraîche quince crumble cake
Crème fraîche quince crumble cake

There's something awfully civilised about afternoon tea with a slice of quince cake and a glass of fine port. With its spicy, woody aromas (thanks to many years maturing in oak before blending and bottling) and balance of sweet strength and sturdy tannin in the mouth, tawny port is exactly what you need for the perfumed tang of the quince in this cake: a sweeter, more mouthfilling muscat would be too luscious, a vintage port too tannic and perhaps not sweet enough. No, tawny fits the bill nicely. Australian port production dates back several centuries, which means our winemakers have some wonderfully old and complex blending options in their cellars - not that we can call such wines "port" any more, since ceasing to use European wine terms associated with place names (real port comes from Oporto in Portugal). So, "tawny" it is.

Sweet and rich, tawny sits very nicely with the tangy fruit and crème fraîche flavours of a quince crumble cake.

Ingredients

  • 550 gm caster sugar
  • 250 ml sangiovese verjuice (see note)
  • 2 thin pieces lemon rind, removed with a peeler
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 quince, quartered, peel and cores reserved (about 800gm)
  • 150 gm softened butter
  • 135 gm caster sugar
  • 120 gm brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 300 gm crème fraîche, at room temperature
  • 170 gm self-raising flour
  • 150 gm plain flour (1 cup)
  • 1 tsp finely ground cinnamon
Crumble topping
  • 85 gm brown sugar
  • 60 gm roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 35 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 30 gm plain flour

Method

Main
  • 1
    Preheat oven to 140C. Simmer sugar, verjuice, lemon rind, cinnamon quills, star anise and 1.5 litres water in a casserole over medium heat until a light syrup forms (5-10 minutes). Wrap quince peel and cores in a square of muslin, tie and add to casserole with quince. Cover and bake until quince are tender and light ruby in colour (2-3 hours). Remove with a slotted spoon, set aside to cool then coarsely chop. Reduce 400ml poaching liquid over medium heat to syrup consistency (12-15 minutes; reserve remaining liquid for another use). Set aside to cool.
  • 2
    Increase oven to 160C. Beat butter and sugars in an electric mixer until pale (2-3 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add crème fraîche and beat to just combine, then stir through flours and cinnamon. Spoon half the mixture into a buttered and floured 24cm-diameter springform tin lined with baking paper. Scatter quince over, then pour over remaining batter and smooth top.
  • 3
    For crumble topping, combine ingredients and a pinch of fine sea salt in a bowl and rub with fingertips until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle over batter. Bake until cake is golden and a skewer inserted in the centre withdraws cleans (50 minutes-1 hour). Cool slightly in tin. Remove cake and cool to room temperature. Serve drizzled with quince syrup.

Notes

Drink suggestion by Max Allen