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Patchwork Orchard Pie

We give you this pie now, with plenty of time to get your hands on quinces as they appear in the market — assuming you don’t have your own quince tree! Besides lending their unusual flavor to this autumnal pie, the quinces will tint the juices with a rosy hue, making for a seasonal picture indeed: graced with a lashing of Silky Smooth Custard, a warm slice of this delectable pie is the very essence of autumn!

Patchwork Orchard Pie

3 lb. 5 oz. mix of quinces, apples, and pears , peeled, cored, and sliced
(we used 5 Braeburn apples, 2 Comice pears, and 2 quinces)
1 oz. butter (2 tbs.)
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways, seeds scraped out
2 tsp. cinnamon
juice 1 lemon
4 oz. golden caster sugar (scant cup), plus extra for sprinkling
1 tbs. all-purpose flour
sweet shortcrust pastry
1 egg, beaten
custard, to serve (optional)

Put the quinces in a large saucepan with the butter, vanilla pod and seeds, cinnamon and 2 tbs. water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add the apples, lemon juice, and sugar, cover again and cook a further 10 minutes. Add the pears and flour, and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally to stop the flour from sticking. The fruit should now be soft, but still holding its shape.

Remove the vanilla pod and transfer the fruit to a deep pie dish. Leave to cool. Fruit can be covered and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days at this point.

Heat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about ¼”. Trim the edges, then cut into rough triangles or squares. Brush a little of the egg around the edge of the dish and all over the pastry pieces. Starting from the outside, layer the pastry in a patchwork style, leaving a few gaps for the fruit to poke through. Trim any overhanging edges and sprinkle liberally with some more of the golden caster sugar. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the juices are bubbling. Serve warm with custard, if you like.

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