Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Slow Poached Quinces
Walking Grumbles into the school yard this morning, she greeted the principal with a cheery "Hello, Principal!"
"Well, hello there Grumbles!", he answered back. Regarding her fondly, he said "You are full of beans this morning - did you eat them for breakfast?"
"Oh no", said Grumbles. "I had porridge with quinces!"
"Porridge, hey?" said the principal. "Yes, porridge is rather good--- hang on a sec. Did you say quinces? My gee, I've heard of porridge for breakfast before, but never with quinces." Giving me a hard look, he said "Did you do the quinces yourself?"
Before I could answer Grumbles butted in. "Yep! Mum does them for us all autumn! Dad and I looooooove quinces."
Throwing me an admiring look, the principal said "By gee, you're good!" before sauntering off to (presumably) find out what some other child ate for breakfast.
As I walked home, blush slowly fading from my face, I pondered the fact that many people consider quinces to be a difficult thing to cook. Let me debunk this right now - they are as easy (in fact, easier) as pie. The only essential ingredient is time. So stick with me, and you too could be ladling glorious, fragrant, syrupy quinces on your porridge in no time, too!
Jorth's Master Slow Poached Quince Recipe
4 (or more) quinces, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
5 cups of water
Traditional: 1 vanilla bean and 1 cinnamon stick
Indian: 1 vanilla bean, 4 crushed cardamon pods and 1 star anise (take this out after the first hour, so the quinces don't taste too liquoricey)
1 - Preheat oven to 155 C/310 F
2 - To make the brown sugar syrup, place the sugar and water into a saucepan, and bring to the boil, stirring regularly to make sure the sugar doesn't stick to the bottom. Once the sugar is dissolved, set aside.
3 - Place the cut up quinces into an oven-proof casserole dish. I use my Le Crueset for this, and it works a treat, but previously have done it in a ceramic dish with foil on top. Add your spices of choice, then pour in the sugar syrup.
4 - Place dish in oven, and cook for at least four hours, or until the quinces are a lovely deep maroon colour. Serve on porridge (heehee!) or for dessert with a sharp, tangy yoghurt.
A quick note on cooking time: I always do my quinces on a day I know that I'm generally going to be home. I start them off first thing in the morning, and then when I go out to do my errands, I simply turn the oven off and let them cook in the residual heat. Then when I get back home I turn the oven on again, until next time I go out and so forth. So mine tend to be in the oven all day, which makes the house toasty warm, and filled with an incredible scent.