Slow-poached quince

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 6 people

As the quince cooks it turns a deep ruby colour, which intensifies, as does the flavour, the longer it's cooked. Some chefs think quince isn't properly cooked until it's this deep colour, but we have opted for a lighter, less intense flavour. However, we've given an estimated cooking time for both below (6 hours for the lighter, and 9 hours for the deeper). Choose a wide saucepan or casserole for this recipe, or a sauté pan. Herbs such as lavender, thyme and rosemary work really well as an addition, as do spices and aromatics such as ginger, cinnamon, pepper and cardamom. We've used a vanilla bean, cinnamon quill and lemon peel. You could also substitute some of the water with wine of your choice.

  • 800 gm caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • Thinly peeled rind of ½ lemon
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 3 large quinces
01   Preheat oven to 130C. Place sugar and 1 litre water in a wide ovenproof pan and bring to the boil over high heat. Add the vanilla bean, lemon rind and cinnamon quill and return to the boil.
02   Meanwhile, peel the quince (reserve peelings), cut into quarters and remove cores, placing quince into the syrup as you go, along with the peelings, to prevent discolouring. Cover with a cartouche, bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and place in oven until quince are the desired tenderness and colour (5-6 for medium ruby colour; 7-9 hours for deep Burgundy; for a very deep colour, turn oven off after 9 hours and leave to cool completely overnight in oven). Poached quince keeps refrigerated for about a month.
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