Combine quince, peelings, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, half of lemon juice and 1 litre water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, cover closely with baking paper and cook over low heat until quince is dark and tender but still holds its shape (3-4 hours). Set aside to cool in liquid, then strain and refrigerate (reserve poaching liquid for another use).
Meanwhile, for chestnut ice-cream, combine milk, cream and vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan, bring to the simmer over low heat, remove from heat, add brandy, set aside until infused (30 minutes). Meanwhile, whisk yolks and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (3-5 minutes), whisk in chestnut purée and milk mixture, return mixture to a clean saucepan. Stir continuously over low heat until mixture thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon (10-15 minutes). Remove from heat, strain through a fine sieve into a bowl placed over ice. Stir occasionally until cool, then freeze in an ice-cream machine. Makes about 800ml.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 230C. Whisk remaining ingredients in a bowl until smooth, strain through a coarse sieve, rest at room temperature (1 hour), then divide among six lightly buttered 125ml moulds. Slice quince and place on top of each, then bake until golden, slightly risen and bouncy to touch (7-9 minutes). Stand for 1-2 minutes, then serve hot with chestnut ice-cream.
Note Sweetened chestnut purée is available from The Essential Ingredient and select greengrocers.
This recipe is from the July 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
“I always find room on the menu for quince when they come into season – they’re the unsung heroes of autumn and winter. People are often intimidated by them because you really only come across them at select grocers. If you’re going to cook them and you’ve got the time, do a big batch as they keep really well, and then you’ve got them on hand for at least a few weeks. You can also transform them into a paste to enjoy with cheese.”