Apple and Quince Crumble with Caramel

I used apples, or apples together with quince instead of the pears Samantha Seneviratne suggests in NYT Cooking to make this quite wonderful crumble that has a caramel base enriched with cottage cheese, instead of cream. I omitted half of the flour, added breadcrumbs, olive oil and orange juice and the results were delicious, both with just apples, or adding some quince for texture.

Served with or without ice cream, this is a seriously addictive dessert.



SERVES 8 – 10 




4 tablespoons/58 grams light olive oil


¾ cups/175 grams granulated sugar


4 ounces (120 grams) soft cream cheese (see NOTE)


1 teaspoon vanilla extract


½  teaspoon salt (see NOTE)



1 small quince, halved, seeded and cut into 1 -inch chunks


5 medium apples, about 1 kilo, 2 green, the rest red—somewhat sweet—each seeded and cut into 1 ½ -inch pieces


½ cup crystalized ginger, minced


2 tablespoons lemon juice


2 tablespoons cornstarch


1 teaspoon cinnamon



1 cup rolled oats


½ cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs


½ cup all-purpose flour


1 teaspoon cinnamon


¾ cup blond or brown sugar


Zest from 1 lemon


½ teaspoon salt


1 cup (120 grams) walnuts, coarsely chopped


½ cup light olive oil


½ cup orange juice


Vanilla Ice Cream, optional for serving




Heat the oven to 375F (180C)

Prepare the caramel: Add 2 tablespoons water and the oil to a 12-inch oven-safe skillet with high sides. Sprinkle the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high. Cook the sugar without stirring until bubbles start to appear. Now swirl the pan very carefully to help the sugar brown evenly. Once the caramel is dark amber, after about 6 minutes or a bit more, remove from the heat.

Let the mixture cool for 1 minute and then add the cream cheese, stirring until fully combined (the mixture will bubble rapidly). Add the vanilla and the salt.


Prepare the fruit: In a large bowl, toss together the quince, apples and ginger, lemon juice, cornstarch, and cinnamon.

Make the topping: In a medium bowl, combine the oats, breadcrumbs, walnuts, brown sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Add the olive oil and orange juice and toss together until all the dry ingredients are evenly moistened.

Add the fruit to the caramel in the skillet and toss to combine. Sprinkle evenly with the topping.  

Bake until the caramel is bubbling in the center, the fruit is tender, and the topping is browned, 35 to 40 minutes.

Let cool slightly before serving.




Instead of the usual, imported, generic cream cheese, I like to make this crumble with our local cream cheese or fresh myzithra, which is much more flavorful, and somewhat salty, so I omit adding extra salt.   





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