A wonderful friend dropped in some ripe quinces prompting me to cook with this unusual fruit. A quince is a quince but the aroma is somewhat like an underripe pear,with hints of spice. However when cooked, and yes that is the secret of their delight, they undertake a personality change and become a deep pink to red colour with the smell of blossom.
Don’t try and eat them raw – peel them like an apple ,remove the core. Place the peeled pieces of quince into a sugar syrup – this bit sometimes sounds hard but is simply 1 cup of water to 1 cup of sugar – if that is too much sugar reduce by half to make a half strength syrup. We require just enough syrup to cover the peeled and cored quinces.
Place into an ovenproof dish and simply bake for around 3 hours on a medium low heat – around 140c (turning them occasionally)- alternately you can just poach on the cooktop for around 2 hours in the same syrup – this method, while faster, won’t undertake the same colour but will still be delicious.
My tip is to add some extra spice to your cooking for example cinnamon, lemon peel, fresh ginger or even star anise
Pop them into some water with the juice of one lemon as they will discolour as soon as you peel them
Check out Maggie Beers recipe for chocolate quince tart