Naz's Quince and Labneh Pie
While it's true that quince are late fall fruits here in the United States, you may substitute any seasonal fruit you love in this tart at other times of year, even now. Poached apples or pears, honey-drizzled figs, macerated strawberries, or lightly-sweetened blueberry sauce all make terrific alternatives during warmer weather or transitional months.
Find labneh at well-stocked grocery stores or Middle Eastern markets. Labneh can also be made easily at home.
Note: You’ll need a fully-baked, completely cooled 9" pie shell.
For the poached quince (or apples or pears… skip this step if using berries):
4 large quince, cored (and peeled, if not organic)
1/2 a small lemon
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon rosewater
Cut the quince into ¼-inch slices, but no thinner. (You want them to hold their shape.) Place the quince in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Squeeze the lemon over the fruit. Add the sugar and about 3 cups (or more) water, to cover. Stir to combine.
Bring to a gentle boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer gently until the quince become tender when pierced with a skewer. During the final 10 minutes of simmering, add the rose water. Remove the quince and raise the heat to slightly to reduce and thicken the liquid. Pour the liquid over the quince and cool completely. (May be made up to one week ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
To assemble the pie:
2 cups labneh
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons grade A maple syrup, or sweetener of choice
1 teaspoon rosewater
One 9" baked and cooled pie shell
Pomegranate seeds, for garnish
Ground pistachios, for garnish
In a medium bowl, thoroughly combine the labneh, cardamom, maple syrup, and rose water. Pour into the pie shell and smooth the top. Arrange the poached quince slices over the labneh. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and pistachios. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes to set the labneh.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Words, Recipe + Photograph by Naz Deravian