by Emma Chow
Quinces can be rather scary things if you’ve never cooked with them before. The fruit is rock hard and astringent, covered with a downy fuzz that rubs off on your hands.
The quince is of the same family as apples and pears and is native to Middle Eastern and South-West Asian areas.
Quince is very high in pectin and is popularly used to make jams, jellies, and quince paste, which is eaten with cheese.
Oven roasted or poached quinces turn up on café menus around this time of year, paired with granola, yogurt, French toast, in cakes and tarts, and sometimes as an accompaniment to roast meat or game.
This is a really easy way to prepare quince, yielding fruit that is soft, fragrant and deep ruby pink in colour. The leftover syrup is also delicious and should not be thrown away.
It’s great over waffles, ice cream, anything that could use a hit of floral sweetness.
400g of raw sugar
2 star anise
Prepare a large bowl with cold water and a few lemon slices and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius.
Peel and core the quince and slice into about 8-10 pieces.
Immediately place quince slices into the lemon water, to stop them from oxidising and discolouring.
In a medium pot or saucepan which is ovenproof (should be all metal, no plastic or wood) and has a properly fitting lid, add the water, sugar, cinnamon stick, star anise, bay leaf and a piece of lemon peel.
Bring this to the boil and allow to simmer gently for 5 minutes until a thin syrup has formed.
Add the quince pieces to the syrup, put the lid on and place the pot in the oven.
Cook for about 2 hours.
Every 20 minutes or so, check the quinces and shake the pot gently to loosen the quince and make sure all the pieces are covered with syrup during cooking.
You should not need to top up the pot with water during cooking with this recipe, but if the liquid level is looking a little low, then do add enough water to cover.
Around the end of cooking time, check the quinces for colour.
They should be deep pinkish red, indicating they are thoroughly cooked.
Allow to cool before removing pieces from the syrup.
The syrup can be kept sealed in a jar for up to a month in the fridge.