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Poached Quince And Red Fruit Cake

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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Rosa's Yummy Yums December 11, 2008 um 6:48 am

So pretty! Those fruits look like jewels…



Snooky doodle December 11, 2008 um 6:58 am


Snooky doodle December 11, 2008 um 6:58 am


Dewi December 11, 2008 um 7:01 am

Ah…ha… got it Helen! thanks for that free stress glazing tip. How clever!

Another very pretty looking dessert. Love it.

Dewi December 11, 2008 um 7:04 am

I do hope you’ll get well soon.

Cakebrain December 11, 2008 um 7:28 am

The fruit look so vivid and fresh! I wish I could find fresh fruit right now in our markets as gorgeous as what you have on that cake! I love the composition of your shots. They really salivatingly delicious.

Anonymous December 11, 2008 um 7:43 am

Looks fantastic. I love your spray bottle tip! Those berries looks surprisingly good given that we’re int he middle of winter:-)

Anonymous December 11, 2008 um 8:03 am

Anis, cloves, cinnamon, quinces… And lots of berries and fruits. This seems like a perfect dessert.

I cand hardly imagine how good this must smell like when baked.

Thank you for another great dessert.

MyKitchenInHalfCups December 11, 2008 um 8:52 am

Gadfry, sorry it took me so long but I just had to retrieve the cheese box from the trash!
Love the fruit AND the glaze on this, just pretty.
I do hope the you’re feeling better soon. Why is it called the common cold when it makes us feel so uncommonly bad?
Oh and the 70°s you’re having maybe it’s because Dallas has sucked all the cold here.

Finla December 11, 2008 um 9:13 am

Beautiful. and not to mention delcious.

Christy December 11, 2008 um 9:48 am

I hope you get well soon from your cold…but gee…you sure are a worker bee to post while feeling sick. I wish I have your motivation.

Love love love the idea of having the brie container as a cake box!! It does look like cheese topped with fruits instead of a mischief of a cake!! And thanks for the spray bottle flangel tip! I’m positive it will come in handy for me one day.

Y December 11, 2008 um 10:22 am

Terrific idea! I love your presentation idea – always thought it was a shame to throw out those lovely brie and camembert boxes 🙂

Anonymous December 11, 2008 um 10:30 am

get well soon helen! beautiful tart and presentation and love the idea of the spray bottle!

Sunshinemom December 11, 2008 um 10:48 am

Sweet mischief! Your friend must have loved this:)

Culinary Wannabe December 11, 2008 um 11:11 am

What a cute idea! I’m sure your friend will be thrilled with the surprise inside.

• friX • December 11, 2008 um 11:34 am

Really beautiful.

Cannelle Et Vanille December 11, 2008 um 12:02 pm

i saw it in his book and loved it too. great way to present it. hope you feel better soon helen!

Nina Timm December 11, 2008 um 12:15 pm

Very cute, although for a cheese geek like me, I would have preferred the Brie or Camembert. I love the idea though!

tara December 11, 2008 um 12:38 pm

There is nothing that irks me more than perfect fruit blanketed in a stodgy, thick glaze. It is like putting on your prettiest party dress and then throwing a parka on top. Your glaze looks perfect, the absolute right amount to gild and glisten the fruits to their luscious best. Gorgeous, as usual, m’dear!

Cindy December 11, 2008 um 12:39 pm

it really is exquisite!

LizNoVeggieGirl December 11, 2008 um 12:53 pm


Anonymous December 11, 2008 um 1:51 pm

A lovely presentation indeed. I hope you feel better. And I agree about this weather…it was warm here yesterday and it does not feel like December at all!

Eileen December 11, 2008 um 2:08 pm

I baked with quince for the first time last month and it was so good. Yours is SO BEAUTIFUL!

Parisbreakfasts December 11, 2008 um 2:55 pm

Ah Ha! so you use apple jelly instead of l’abricotage?
Gawd it looks wonderful. It would be worth getting a headache if I could make this…

montague December 11, 2008 um 3:26 pm

delicious and i adore the packaging. great idea for reusing cheese containers 😉
and please get well soon!

Anonymous December 11, 2008 um 3:37 pm

A beautiful dessert. I love the fresh fruit, it looks so bright and vibrant! I love the presentation.

please sir December 11, 2008 um 3:42 pm

Oh wow that looks divine!!

Manggy December 11, 2008 um 4:06 pm

Aww… Get well soon Helen! On the plus side, with all that warm weather, you have… Berries and melons! 😉 See, we wouldn’t have gotten to see this vision of loveliness we now have. That’s a pretty cool trick for glazing, by the way! (I suppose I need to have boiling water to flush the nozzle with as soon as I’m done!)

minisuperbias December 11, 2008 um 4:12 pm

spraying a glaze – brilliant!!!

Lisa December 11, 2008 um 4:41 pm

Amazing – it looks like the very best of summer and winter combined! Thank you for your always beautiful and inspiring posts and pictures!

Anonymous December 11, 2008 um 4:42 pm

What a great idea and this looks simply beautiful!

Deeba PAB December 11, 2008 um 4:43 pm

Love your stress free trick for the glaze Helen…you do make it all sound s easy-peasy. The cake & fruits are drooliciously gorgeous. Fancy finding berries in winter!!

Anonymous December 11, 2008 um 5:13 pm

Sorry you are ill. I’ll gladly trade you my weather here in Toronto for yours though. And, if you throw in a piece of that lovely looking cake, I’ll let you keep my weather for as long as you like.

David December 11, 2008 um 5:22 pm

Love the cake, but the cheesecloth is what I’m really coveting! ; )

Jen December 11, 2008 um 5:40 pm

The spray bottle idea for glaze is amazing– that would make it so much easier to do. Your cake looks so beautiful too.

Feel better soon.

Kayla December 11, 2008 um 5:52 pm

This is a perfect recipe for my class when we do our lab about fruits and glazes! Thank you!

Anonymous December 11, 2008 um 6:52 pm

Excellent idea to use the cheese box for presentation!
You are lucky to have such temperature!! Over here it’s below zero at night and I feel cold all the time.
Mulled wine and hot cocoa sounds good to me at this time of the year 🙂 In fact, I am going to make some mulled wine 🙂

That Girl December 11, 2008 um 8:04 pm

I hope you feel better soon! I’m sipping my coffee and hot chocolate right now!

Elizabeth December 11, 2008 um 10:18 pm

The prettiest thing I’ve ever seen in a brie box!

Anonymous December 12, 2008 um 12:38 am

that just looks like happiness on plate! wonderful stuff. great photos as usual too.

CatherineS December 12, 2008 um 12:51 am

This looks beautiful and yummy!

Jen Yu December 12, 2008 um 3:18 am

Sweetheart, I’m so sorry you’re still sick 🙁 Hope you recover quickly. Here is a great prank for your friend… Use some spongy packing foam (like the large pieces used to ship computers) and ice it with real frosting and decorate like a real cake. Serve it to him 😉 My friends pulled that prank on one of the profs in my dept – let him cut into it and everything. Hi-larious. xxoo

lil' Miss Cupcake December 12, 2008 um 3:20 am

Fabulous! It looks almost too pretty to eat!

redmenace December 12, 2008 um 3:35 am

Just beautiful! Thank you! It’s very inspiring to see your blog and recipes.

Bonbon Oiseau December 12, 2008 um 4:04 am

these look GORGEOUS!!! take care of yourself and get rid of that bad cold…

Sara December 12, 2008 um 4:14 am

Beautiful! I have a major weakness for quince.

cindy* December 12, 2008 um 4:44 am

lovely helen…you had me fooled too!

Mrs.French December 12, 2008 um 7:54 am

honestly the only fruitcake that has ever tempted me…that my dear is a big deal! xo t

Anonymous December 12, 2008 um 8:37 am

Dear, let me say this little tarte is the most superdelicious I have seen from…YEARS! I love pistachio 'pepitas' on red fruits!

Botacook December 12, 2008 um 9:01 am

Whaouh, ce gâteau est trop beau, digne d’une grande pâtissière! 🙂

La Tartine Gourmande December 12, 2008 um 2:37 pm

Si joli qu’on n’oserait pas y toucher !

Florence A. December 12, 2008 um 2:47 pm

Superbe (et plein de vitamines pour réduire à néant les vilains rhumes:)

La Cuisine d'Helene December 12, 2008 um 5:55 pm

This is pure Art. So beautiful.

html test December 12, 2008 um 9:19 pm

Oh I’m so sorry you’re still sick. And it’s awful to be sick when it’s warm outside, no matter the season, but especially when it should be cold.
I love that you cooked it in a brie box and what a great tip! I have regular fights with the rolling berries when it’s berry season.

Simone December 12, 2008 um 10:38 pm

Love the idea! And congratulations on your book! It’s such a nice feeling to see your own work in print…

Alexa December 13, 2008 um 1:03 am

I hope you feel better soon, Tartelette! I am impressed you could still post this lovely cake–migraine and all. I am just getting over a week long of being sick myself. Something is going around… No warm weather in Seattle, though. We’re expecting snow tonight or tomorrow.
Take care.

Chelsea December 13, 2008 um 1:55 am

I thought I was the only crazy person who glazes tarts with a spray bottle. It really is an amzing trick, especially if you find goopy thick glaze unappetizing as I do. Beautiful cake!

Anonymous December 13, 2008 um 2:23 am

hi, this has nothing to do with this post, (though it certainly was a lovely post as always) I was wondering what the best way to store macarons were. filled/unfilled? how long?

Helene December 13, 2008 um 2:58 am

Anonymous: the shells can be stored unfilled in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Once filled, it is really a matter of taste as the longer they stand the softer they get. Some people like them cold, some people like them room temp. I like to make them the day before so the filling and shell get the chance to meld together but that is just a personal preference. I would not keep them unfilled or filled more than 4 days as they tend to taste stale after that.

Helene December 13, 2008 um 2:58 am

Anonymous: the shells can be stored unfilled in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Once filled, it is really a matter of taste as the longer they stand the softer they get. Some people like them cold, some people like them room temp. I like to make them the day before so the filling and shell get the chance to meld together but that is just a personal preference. I would not keep them unfilled or filled more than 4 days as they tend to taste stale after that.

Maria December 13, 2008 um 3:46 pm

Beautiful as always!!!

Rebecca December 13, 2008 um 6:21 pm

Helen, you have just outdone yourself, my goodness–these cakes are gorgeous! take care and happy holidays!

limonana December 14, 2008 um 1:12 am

mmmmmmmmm…this looks too beautiful to eat!

Elle December 14, 2008 um 3:25 am

Great tip for applying the glaze to fruits. Was he surprised to find quince pieces in the cake? It looks almost too pretty to eat.

Vanillaorchid December 14, 2008 um 8:46 am

wowwwww…so fantastic as always.

Wish you to get well soon.

Manger La Ville December 14, 2008 um 5:44 pm

Just beautiful, this would be such a stunner for Christmas. I like the spray bottle idea. And those pomegranates make these cakes look like they have little gems. Yummy

Anonymous December 14, 2008 um 6:18 pm

Hope you’re feeling better Tartelette. And come and visit NY if you crave some icy cold weather. 🙂

I love the idea of presenting the cake in a Camembert box. And i love quince and pomegranates. The pictures are stunning as usual.

pastry studio December 14, 2008 um 7:59 pm

How stunning and restorative to see such vividly gorgeous jewel colors in the midst of winter. I’m completely mesmerized. Thank you-thank you!

Lori December 15, 2008 um 1:08 am

On the roof, huh? Now that’s tricky and it just has me wondering!

I love the trick with the spray bottle!

Mallory Elise December 15, 2008 um 3:16 am

i was going to comment a bit back about how clever i thought i was for recognizing that you recycled a fromage box to put your cake in, but then as i read i realized that that was the whole point. blast it! i have nothing cheeky to say. so instead, i think i will say that fromage boxes are making me sad, for some reason, as christmas gets closer, im starting to get really homesick for paris. last christmas was the utmost of adventures. i miss it all.

Suzanne : : S.HOPtalk December 15, 2008 um 4:10 am

these look so delightful. what a touch you have.

Apples and Butter December 15, 2008 um 6:04 am

Beautiful and I love the idea of serving it in a cheese box. Glazing has always been difficult. I will definitely try the spray bottle next time!

Guia Obsum December 15, 2008 um 9:10 am

nice blog. i love your pictures! 🙂 hope you can visit my blog too. 🙂

How To Eat A Cupcake December 16, 2008 um 4:49 pm

Absolutely gorgeous. I love how the little pieces of fruit peek out of the cake when it’s sliced. 😀

Anonymous December 16, 2008 um 4:55 pm

boy o boy that looks so amazingly good!!!

LyB December 22, 2008 um 1:35 pm

Thanks so much for the glaze-spraying trick, such a great idea! Those tarts look lovely.

M09 January 1, 2009 um 12:51 pm

everything looks amazing! can’t wait to see what else will come this new year!

Anonymous March 27, 2009 um 11:25 am

its look yummy, and the pictures are really great.

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