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
- 1Preheat 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.
- 2Meanwhile, 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.