We love the simplicity versatility of Fiona's poached quince recipe. She suggests skipping the labourious task of peeling and coring the quince and just remove after cooking. If you don’t mind the appearance of the peel, leave it on as it is edible once cooked.
Serve poached quince with cream and the cooking syrup, or for breakfast try with yoghurt and muesli. You could also puree them to serve with lamb or duck. The reserved jelly from this recipe is also amazing melted in the pan juices from roast lamb or duck, for a sauce.
3 quince, washed to remove the fury coating over skin.
1 litre water
2 cups castor sugar
2 bay leaves
1 vanilla pod split half lengthwise
1 star anise
peel from half an orange, pith removed
Cut quince into quarters, or if large, cut into in to six wedges lengthwise. If you prefer, cut core from quarters, otherwise leave and remove after cooking.
Place water, sugar, bay leaves, vanilla, star anise and orange peel into a heavy based saucepan just large enough to hold quince. Place the saucepan over a medium heat and stir to dissolve sugar. Add the quince. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low-medium. Cover fruit with a piece of baking paper and cover with lid. Cook at a low simmer for 30 minutes, or until the fruit is tender, a pale peachy-orange colour and easily pierced with a knife. Avoid stirring, as fruit may break up.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the fruit from the saucepan and set aside. Return saucepan to a high heat without the lid and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until syrup has reduced to about 250ml and turned a rosy orange-red. Remove from heat. If serving warm, return the quince to the syrup to warm through.
Alternatively, if not using the syrup and poached fruit straight away, strain the syrup into a jar. It will set into a jelly. Seal and store in the refrigerator for up to a month. Place the fruit in a sealed container and refrigerate, then use as desired. Reheat the jelly to use as syrup for desserts, or add a spoonful to pan juices of roast meats, vegetables or game for a tart-sweet addition.
Note: The fruit and cooking liquid can also be transferred after the initial 30 minute cooking into a sealed container in the refrigerator. They will keep for a couple of weeks. Use as required.
Fiona Hammond © March 2018
Recipe, photos and styling by Fiona Hammond. www.fionahammondfood.com