The mysterious quince is making a comeback! Similar to an apple or pear, with it’s rich, golden skin tone and alluring aroma--reminiscent of pineapple and guava--the quince is actually a relative of the rose.
If there was ever a poster child for the “slow-food” movement, the quince is it. Unlike the apple or pear, quince can not be eaten raw. But when slow-cooked, develops a very sweet flavor, like a perfumed apple. With cooking the quince assumes a grainy texture, similar to a pear and turns a gorgeous rosy color. Its complex taste is compatible with citrus and warming spices, such as nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla.
Quince is used to make tarts, jams, preserves and is also a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern meat stews. In Latin countries, quince is turned into a paste called membrillo and is used in tapas dishes that contain Manchego cheese. The quince is high in pectin, the natural gelling agent that allows jams and jellies to thicken. This made quince a very popular base for preserves in ancient times. The Portuguese word for quince is marmelo and over time evolved into what we know today as the word marmalade.
Makes 6-8 individual servings
1 cup sugar
½ cup honey
1 lemon, cut into quarters
1 cinnamon stick
1/3 cup Madeira or Sherry
Topping (see recipe below)
Ice cream, optional
Peel, core and slice quince into 8 wedges each. Put wedges into a large bowl of water, as you prep, to prevent from turning brown.
In a large stock pot add ½ gallon of water, sugar, honey, lemon and cinnamon stick. Over medium-high heat bring to a boil and allow sugar to totally dissolve. Lower heat. Drain quince and add to the pot; simmer for about two hours, until you can pierce the quince with a knife. (The quince will be a bright rose color.) Let cool. At this point you can store in refrigerator, in the juices, for up to a week. Reserve the juice for adding to your favorite cocktail
Preheat oven to 357F. Divide quince among individual ramekins. Sprinkle with Madeira and cover completely with topping crumbs. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving. Top with ice cream. Can be served warm or room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers; warm in oven or microwave before serving.
Makes 3 cups
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup old-fashioned oats
½ teaspoon Moroccan Coffee Spice Mix
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
Put all ingredients except butter into a food processor. Pulse until blended. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles course bread crumbs. Don’t over work.
Spread over top of the fruit.
Reprinted with permission of Bella Magazine