Nov 13, 2019 Last Updated 6:31 AM, Nov 9, 2017

Roasted Quince, White Chocolate Labne, Pistachio Kunafeh

Maura Kilpatrick's Roasted Quince, White Chocolate Labne, Pistachio Kunafeh. Photo by Didem Hogsel.

Quince, white chocolate preserved lemon cremeux, kunafeh mafrouke and pistachio gel by Maura Kilpatrick, Pastry Chef of Oleana and Sofra in Cambridge, MA.


Note: In this dessert, the Kataifi, or shredded phyllo, is broken into the smallest shreds, rubbed in butter over a stove top, so it turns crispy but stays white. It is the perfect crispy textural counterpoint to soft white chocolate ganache made with labne and preserved lemons. The delicious and tender Quince Dolma is the perfect contrast to the cream and kunafeh.

Yield: 8 servings


  • 80 liq oz/2.36 lt water
  • 16.2 oz/460 g granulated sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 quince

1. Prepare quince: peel, then slice each one in half, leaving the core in the center (it will be easier to remove after the quince is cooked and softened). 

2. Combine the water, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil to dissolve sugar.  Add the prepared quince to the boiling syrup. Lower heat and keep at a simmer until quince begin to turn pink, about 45 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 300°F. Once the quince have started to turn a rosy color, pour the contents of the pot into a shallow baking dish. Cover with foil, pierce the foil with a knife in 3-4 slits.  Place in preheated oven and bake until very soft and a deep rose color.  This should take between 2 1/2 and 3 hours. Cool completely in the syrup. Carefully remove the cores to create a cavity to fill with the white chocolate.

White Chocolate Preserved Lemon Cremeux:

  • 2 oz/57 g preserved lemons
  • 12.3 oz/348 g heavy cream
  • 1 lb/452 g Valrhona Ivoire White Chocolate 
  • 11.4 oz/324 g labne or Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

1. Slice preserved lemons open. Place in medium saucepan with cream and heat until just under a boil.  Remove from heat, cover and infuse for 1 hour.  Place white chocolate in bowl.

2. After infusing lemons, strain cream, pressing to extract as much flavor from the lemons. Return the cream to heat, not to boil. Pour over the white chocolate.  Stir well with a rubber spatula until melted and smooth.  Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill until firm, 1 hour.  

3. Once firm, stir in the labne and olive oil.  Taste first and add salt as needed; preserved lemon flavors vary and may contain enough salt.  Chill until plating.

Kunafeh Mafrouke:

  • 1/2 package (8 oz/225 g) kataifi pastry
  • 5.8 oz/165 g unsalted butter, divided
  • 3.8 oz/110 g confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp rosewater
  • 2.6 oz/75 g pistachio nuts

1. Place the kataifi in a large bowl and use your hands to tear apart the threads and break them into smaller pieces, not larger than ¼”.  

2. Melt 3.8 oz/110 g  butter in a large shallow pan – the larger the surface area the  easier to ensure even crisping of phyllo.  Over low heat, add the phyllo, using your hands to coat all the tiny strands with butter. Continuously stir and heat until crisp, 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Cool completely.  

3. Once cooled, gently stir in 3/4 of the confectioners’ sugar and rosewater, tossing to coat completely. In a small skillet, melt remaining butter over low heat, stir in pistachios and fry them, stirring constantly until they smell toasty, 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon onto towel lined baking sheet to cool.  Once cooled, toss with remaining confectioners’ sugar.

Pistachio Gel: 

  • 11 oz/314 g pistachios, toasted
  • 2.3 lb/1.062 kg water
  • 5.3 oz/150 g granulated sugar
  • 0.28 oz/8 g agar agar

1. Place pistachios and 12.4 oz/354 g of water in food processor.  Start to process and pour in remaining water.  Grind until nuts are fine, 3-4 minutes.  Strain.  Whisk the sugar into the “pistachio milk”.

2. Place in the blender and slowly add agar agar.  Pour into a saucepan and bring the liquid to a full boil.  Pour into a shallow pan and let set until firm.  

3. Once firm, break into pieces, place in the blender and blend to a smooth consistency.  Add a few tablespoons of the quince roasting syrup if needed for better consistency.


  • Fresh pomegranate seeds

Spoon Pistachio Gel across the plate, placing quince half at one end.  Spoon White Chocolate Preserved Lemon Cremeux into the center of the quince.  Lay Kunafeh across the top of the cream.  Top with sugared pistachios and fresh pomegranate seeds.


Click here to read more about this and related recipes in the article "A Perfumed Journey."

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