Thursday, April 04, 2019

Baked Toffee Quinces

Quinces are in season and so often we find them rotting under trees as not many seem to know what to do with these beautiful fruits. They do need to be cooked. (There are masochists who like to eat them raw with salt, but we won’t go there.) The flesh is relatively hard and they are not a picnic to peel, but persevere, it is worth it. You can just stew them gently in some water and sugar till soft, adding some cinnamon, star anise or fresh ginger, but the following recipe is one of our favourites and the hard work will pay such dividends

5 quinces – a litre of water – 1 kg caster sugar –double thick or clotted cream, to serve

First peel one quince. Cut it up into 5 cm pieces.  Make the syrup by adding the sugar to the water in a large wide saucepan on heat, and add the quince pieces. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil.  Let this boil until you have a thick viscous syrup – it can take an hour and you must watch it so that it doesn’t catch and burn. Strain off the quince pieces. They are edible

Heat your oven to 200°C. Peel and halve the remaining four quinces. You do not have to remove the pips. In a roasting tin, put the quinces cut face down and pour over the syrup. It needs to be about 1 cm in depth. Roast in the oven for an hour, then baste the quinces and turn the oven down to 160°C. Continue cooking for 2 to 3 hours, basting regularly with the syrup. Add more of the stock syrup if it starts to go dry. Turn the quinces as you baste them so that they take on the caramel colour on all sides. When they are ready and a good dark burgundy red colour, remove from the oven and put one into each dessert dish, with a bit of the sticky syrup. You serve these with a dollop or two of double thick cream. It is a very rich and sweet, so you only need one per person. The quince will be tender beneath the caramel and quite delicious

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