A good coffee shop is an important thing. Important for secret meetings to talk about writing with older boys. Important for—praise be—the only poetry reading in town. Important for everyone else too. Important for legendary bathroom graffiti and important for brioche the size of your head.
Important for the cat whose life’s work is sipping cream from tiny stainless pitchers. Important for sitting with sisters, for stretching an hour or so spent laughing at the classifieds over months between visits. Important for the waitress who gets your name wrong so often and with such conviction that you’re sure she’s doing it on purpose. Important for ragtag rows of cake stands and what they keep: a quince-studded vanilla cake set to “buckle” under a mountain of pistachio ginger streusel.
Adapted from The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee, a book about a coffee shop.
Quince Buckle with Pistachio Ginger Streusel
- 1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and cut into coins
- 76 g (1/2 cup) unsalted shelled pistachios
- 100 g (1/2 cup) organic cane sugar
- 1/2 t kosher salt
- 140 g gluten-free all purpose flour (see notes)
- 1/4 t xanthan gum
- 85 g (6 T) cold unsalted butter
- FOR THE CAKE
- 156 g (11 T) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 150 g (3/4 cup) organic cane sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 140 g gluten-free all purpose flour
- 1/4 t xanthan gum
- 1 t baking powder
- 1 quince, poached and diced into 1/4 inch pieces (about 1 cup) see notes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and generously butter a 9-inch spring form pan.
- To make the streusel: Combine the pistachios and ginger in a food processor and blend until a very coarse meal forms.
- Dump into a medium bowl and stir to combine with the next four ingredients.
- Chop the 6 T of cold butter up, place it in a bowl with the dry streusel ingredients, and let it sit while you make the cake. Don't fully combine it just yet.
- To make the cake: Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating until fully combined after each addition.
- Add the vanilla bean seeds and mix well.
- Add the flour, xanthan gum, and baking powder, mixing until fully incorporated.
- Fold in the quince.
- Spread the cake batter into the pan and set aside.
- Return to the streusel topping. The butter should be softened, but still cold. Using your hands, work the butter into the dry ingredients until clumpy crumbs form.
- Sprinkle the topping on top of the cake in an even layer and bake for 50-60 minutes.
- Let cool for 10-15 minutes before unmolding from the springform pan.
- I used Cybele Pascal’s gluten-free flour mix. Gluten-eating folks can sub AP flour by weight and omit the xanthan gum.
- I quartered and cored a single quince and poached it in 2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, and 1/4 t lemon juice for about 40 minutes. David Lebovitz has a good poached quince recipe too. Quince poaching is a forgiving science. No matter what, save the poaching liquid as it’s the best soda syrup around.