Ever dreamed of being in an Edward Lear poem? Do you imagine yourself with a feline companion, drifting across the waves in a vessel while searching your luggage for a runcible spoon? If so, then this one will appeal to you…
I am a bit of a sucker for exotic things in stores, especially fruit. I feel the need to buy them, reasoning that I will surely be able to use them very easily. Needless to say, there can be a tendency for some of them to languish in the kitchen until I finally feel a bit guilty and then need to come up with a way to use them, often at short notice as something threatens to get rid of them...
So it was recently with a couple of quinces. They looked so pretty, so bright and yellow, and thus were of course a critical pre-Christmas purchase. They graced the festive fruit bowl, together with clementines and pomegranates, but in the last day or two, as the tree came down on Twelfth Night, they started to look a little forlorn. To make something with them, I thought I would keep it simple, and do something to highlight the colour and aromas of quince, that could be used with yoghurt and muesli in the mornings, or in the evenings as a simple dessert. Poach ’em!
This is a really simple recipe – peel, core and slice the fruit, then poach in a simple sugar syrup, with spices if you feel like it, but that is entirely optional. The flavour of quince is aromatic and delicate, so if you are minded to add a little extra something, then use a light hand. I added on (just one) clove and a piece of vanilla pod. The vanilla is delicate enough to work with the quince, and all the little flecks of black look rather cool. Like this:
What is sort of cool about quince is that it magically change colour when cooked. If you need proof, below are the slices of quince when first cut, and then after they have been poached for about an hour. They change from pale yellow to a pinky, peachy hue. Cook them even longer, and they will tend towards a deeper amber-red, if that’s your thing.
When you eat the poached quince, you also have a wonderful aromatic syrup. Either spoon this over the fruit, cook further (without the quince) to form a rich syrup, or use it as a syrup for ice cream, sorbets or drinks. It’s a New Year. Time to be creative!
To make poached quince:
• 2 quince, peeled, cored and sliced
• 200g white sugar
• 4 cups cold water
• spices according to taste (vanilla, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon) (*)
Place the quince slices, sugar, water and spices (if using) in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid, then reduce the heat and simmer on a low heat for around an hour. When done, the quince turns pink and the syrup will be a little thicker.
Serve with cream, yoghurt or ice-cream as a pudding, or chopped with muesli for breakfast.
(*) Remember to use just a little – one clove or one pod of cardamom or just a bit of cinnamon…
Worth making? Yes! If you’re keen to try making something with quince, this recipe is both super-simple and yields great results.