Quinces can be cut in half and baked like an apple but Nigel Slater prefers to poach them first so “their flesh becomes melting and almost transparent”. Maple syrup or honey adds the sweetness when roasting the quinces for their final cooking.
- 4 heaped tbsp sugar
- 500mls water
- 4 cloves
- 2 star anise
- 4 smallish quinces
- Half a lemon
- 4 tbsp maple syrup or honey
Make a syrup with the sugar and water and bring to the boil. Add the cloves and the star anise. Peel and halve the quinces, scoop out the cores and rub them with lemon to stop them browning. (I leave in my cores as I like the look of them and also the syrup then has a jelly like quality when the quinces are cold.) Lower the quinces into the sugar syrup and simmer until tender. This may take 25 minutes or longer depending on the size and ripeness.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. When the quinces are tender to the point of a knife, lift them out and put them in a shallow baking dish. Measure out about 150-200mls of the poaching liquid, add the maple syrup and together with the aromatics, pour them over the quinces.
Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes, until very soft and tender, reducing the heat if the fruit is tending to look a little browned.
Serve lightly warmed with the cooking juices and cream.
Quinces can also be peeled and halved and then oven roasted gently for 2- 3 hours in the oven until richly coloured and tender. Use verjuice as the liquid, marsala or red wine, what ever you have available, and adjust the sweetness accordingly, with honey, maple syrup or brown sugar.
Also try adding diced quince to an apple pie or shortcake. You will be amazed at the depth of flavour that ensues. And I always like having a bowl of quinces in the kitchen as their evocative perfume welcomes you home.
Suggested wines to complement this recipe
Dumangin Premier Cru Vintage 2003
Millton Vineyard Amrita