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Archive for the ‘Fruit’ Category

Quinces

About 2 years ago, I became a bit obsessed with quinces. Unfortunately, I didn’t really know what to do with them. So I turned to google and found a number of intriguing recipes, including this one for Quince Chutney. I made an offhand (and somewhat undiplomatic) comment about how jealous I was of the fact that Sarah, the author, had access to plentiful quinces and, ahem, a mum who could cook. Fast forward to this year and my mum develops her own obsession with quinces and, at around the same time, acquires an Ipad. I then receive an email from her directing me to the comment I had made and saying “LOOK WHAT I FOUND! And I beg to differ, I can cook.” Whoops! When did mums get computer literate? It’s left me wondering what other comments I’ve made now.

Anyway, I think it is a testament to her good humour and tolerance that the next time she saw me she gave me a big bag of quinces.

From which I made quince and orange jelly from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cooks Companion. The recipe involved chopping and basically stewing half your quinces, then draining that and adding the other half of the quinces (sliced but not peeled) and the oranges (Seville – peeled and chopped). This was cooked for another hour then drained in muslin.

Quinces cooking

This was then drained for a few hours and the pulp discarded (or removed for later use in a cake). The juice was then weighed before an equivalent volume of sugar was added.This mixture was then boiled until setting stage. It took ages to get to setting stage for some reason.

I had a bit of a disaster when pouring the jelly in to the jars because it bubbled up and went everywhere. So I ended up with a few half jars, for which I would certainly not win a prize at the Easter Show. It’s also got some foam on the top, which it shouldn’t. But isn’t it pretty!

I then made a quince cake to use up the left over quince pulp. I used another Stephanie Alexander recipe – this time her quince and almond cake recipe. It used a whole block of butter! Lucky it was tasty. I also left out the nuts due to the nut-allergic husband. I can recommend the cake – it was surprisingly light and not too sweet, with a delicious crumb.

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Quinces baked in honey

I bought some quinces from Marrickille Markets the other day and poached them in red wine with a cinnamon stick and cardamon pods. The fact that they ended up being quite delicious says more about the quinces than any effort on my part, as I didn’t really know what I was doing. Coasting on that success and feeling the chill of Sydney’s recent cold, grey wet days, I decided to try Stephanie Alexander’s recipe for Quinces Baked in Honey from her fabulous book The Cook’s Companion – a book that is dog eared, butter stained and much loved by me.

Ingredients
3 quinces, washed well
80g butter
4 tablespoons light honey
1/4 cup water

Method
Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius.

Halve but do not peel quinces, then remove pips and core from each with a spoon to make a neat hollow. Select a gratin dish that will hold the quince halves snugly and grease with a third of the butter. Arrange quinces halves hollows uppermost. Divide remaining butter and honey between the hollows and pour the water gently around the sides.

Cover with foil and bake for at least 3 hours until the quinces are soft and a rich red (turn quinces over after 1.5 hours).

Here are the quinces after an hour and a half:

And here is the finished product:

Serve hot or warm with hollows filled with honey juices and offer thick or clotted cream. I served mine with greek yoghurt purely because that is what I had.

I must admit that I am not a big fan of butter, or fat in general, so I struggled with the amount of butter used. Next time I would use far less (and my husband would be outraged as he has a love of butter only a man with almost no body fat can sustain). I also baked the quinces for quite a lot longer than 3 hours because I got distracted. Having made those qualifications, the texture was lovely and the dish itself was a warm and fuzzy winter type dessert. 3.5 stars.

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