Quince baked with Honey and Star Anise

Being a rare fruit I would have thought that a quince would be grateful when somebody bought it and allowed that person to enjoy its flavour with ease. For something so elusive it puts up a pretty good battle when you want to get into it. You wouldn’t have thought so by looking at it; a curious undulating shape and light brown fuzz all over it looks like a right cutie. The glorious smell entices you in and before you know it you’ve picked up a few felt festooned fruits.
Quince baked with Honey and Star Anise - baked

Quinces need time to be tantalising; it’s not one for the lunch box. This is a great way of turning your determinedly firm quinces into soft, sumptuous fruits that you can use in a myriad of different ways. When the ground is covered in fallen leaves and the evenings are slightly cool, the smell of this wafting from the kitchen is unimaginably warming.

Quinces

You will need:
3 medium quinces
300ml water
3 tbsp runny honey
1 star anise
(Lemons)

Quince baked with Honey and Star Anise - honey drizzled over

You will also need a very sharp knife, determination and a whole lot of lemons. Once exposed to the air the flesh of a quince browns like no other; blink and you’ll think your quince has been replaced by a muddy potato. To prevent this you need to put lemon juice on everything the quince is likely to touch; chopping board, knife and even the quince itself. It’s also advisable to squeeze some lemon juice into a bowl of water to store the quinces when they’ve been peeled.

Quince baked with Honey and Star Anise - baked

Peel and quarter the quinces and remove the seeds. Put each quince into the acidulated water while you attempt the next. Remove the quinces from the water and put into an oven proof dish with the water, honey and star anise. Bake in the oven for around two hours at 170C or until soft. It takes a surprisingly long time to bake a quince into submission. 

Quince baked with Honey and Star Anise - served with cream

When the quinces are done you can use them and the honeyed spiced syrup in so many different ways: put them into porridge, serve them with cream or yoghurt, add to a rice pudding or just enjoy them as they are. They not only make the house smell amazing as they cook but the taste is reminiscent of antiquated times. It’s hard to explain what a quince tastes like; I’d go for almost tropical mixed with pear. Despite them being hard to find, a devil to get in to and laborious to cook, there’s nothing else quite like it.

Comments

  1. says

    How lovely, to me quince tastes of exotic perfume, I agree with you, until you try it you cannot really imagine the extraordinary flavour. My only issue is that I cannot bear the smell of them cooking so will have to just enjoy them cooked by someone else!

  2. says

    Surprisingly for a Foodie like me, I have never prepared a Quince, and I have only ever eaten them when made into Membrillo (in which form I have to say, it is VERY nice!). I doesn’t sound easy to do, so I admire your valiant efforts!

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