Did you notice the fabulous new badge I have? The one underneath the bit about who I am? I know, I couldn't believe it either when a lovely person called Emma emailed me and congratulated me on having a Top 50 blog, as voted by readers. I have no idea how this happened, especially as I haven't really been Miss Blogger around here lately. But I was so overcome with joy to be mentioned on the same list as Clotilde, Matt, my beloved book club, and all the other big names on the list, that I stopped wondering about it too much, and decided to just enjoy it.
I don't want this to be all soppy and gooey and cringe-worthy, but please allow me to have just a quick mention about how much I enjoy this blog. Being inspired by everybody out there, and being able to tell you all about what I'm seeing, what I'm cooking, what works, and what turns out a complete disaster, is more fun than I could have ever imagined. And as a thank you, I decided to make something special, and nothing is as special as dessert.
The dessert I made you come from the new issue of delicious, one of my favourite foodie magazines. Quince is one of those ingredients that I always find fabulous recipes for, and when they are finally in season here in the southern hemisphere, I buy a few, and then can't remember what exactly it is I wanted to do with them. Like blood oranges. And pomegranates. I saw this lovely-looking quince trifle recipe, made a mental note of everything I needed (white chocolate and cream, basically), and found myself with all the ingredients when dessert time came around. A few weeks ago I found a very exotic turkish rose syrup, and couldn't wait to try it. Of course I used Green & Blacks white chocolate. I know I always swear by it, but I just want to reconfirm that it really is the best. Recently I tried to make a white chocolate ganache with a cheaper brand of white chocolate, and needless to say, it was an utter disaster. Lesson learnt.
Actually, this dish didn't turn out exactly as planned either. The quinces cooked a tad too long, because I was sidetracked by the Little Girl refusing to go to sleep. My wonderful little girl is so curious about the world around her, she's not happy about missing anything while she's sleeping. It takes me about an hour of chatting, singing, reading stories, and playing all sorts of little games before she falls asleep. Even when she's so tired that she simply has to lie down, the one little leg is still kicking against my hand. I love this time I get to spend with her, just the two of us, which means dishes overcook in our house on a regular basis. The quinces tonight was beyond very soft. It was two minutes away from jam, in fact, and the wine it cooked in was a thick, sticky syrup. I had to reheat it with a couple of glasses of wine to thin it out enough to be able to use it. And you know what? It was gorgeous. What we ended up with was small glasses of thick, syrupy, intensely flavoured quinces, under a fluffy blanket of melted white chocolate and whipped cream. Everybody raved, and I'm secretly wondering if it would have been as wonderful if everything went according to plan.
So, I'm very happy and honoured to dedicate this dessert to all of you. Thank you so much for visiting me, leaving a comment, and nominating me for awards. I hope I'll be able to do this for many years to come. From the bottom of my heart.
White chocolate, quince and rose syrup trifles
1 cup (225g) caster sugar
2 tablespoons rose syrup (or 1 cinnamon quill)
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
375ml moscato (I used what we had, which was a sauvignon blanc)
2 quinces, peeled, cored, quarted
400ml thickened cream
200g white chocolate, chopped
8 savoiardi (sponge fingers)
Stir sugar, rose syrup or cinnamon, vanilla pod and seeds, wine and 1 cup of water in a pan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Add quince, cover surface with baking paper, and simmer for 2-3 hours until quince is tender and deep red. Remove quince, slice into bite-size pieces, then set aside. Simmer syrup over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until reduced by half.
Alternatively, spend some time with your little girl until the quinces are falling apart and the syrup is as thick as toffee, remove as much of the quince as you can, and add some more wine to the syrup until it's thin enough.
Bring 100ml cream to just below boiling point, pour over the chocolate, and stir to melt. Cool slightly. Whip remaining cream and fold into the chocolate mixture.
Break sponge into bite-size pieces. Divide among glasses, then drizzle with enough quince syrup to moisten. Top with quince and cream, and chill for 1 hour.
Drizzle with a little remaining syrup and serve.