Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Quince-tessential Fall Fruit
Consider the humble quince. Not really edible in it's natural state. It won't actually harm you, it just doesn't taste nice.
On the way home from the doctor's office on Saturday (allergies became a sinus infection, hence the long absence from Any Given Sundry,) Kitty and I stopped at Sanchez Produce and I saw these. I'd read about them in How to Pick a Peach.
Yeah, yeah, I know. I can't stop talking about that book!
By Wednesday I was beginning to feel human again... You know, that sense of life being worth living you sometimes get when emerging from a bad cold or flu? That was me.
It was Kitty's last day in California, so I wanted to get around to cooking this up. I may have become a bit over-excited. Russ Parson's recipe for poaching quince was so simple that I thought he hadn't given me the proportions for simple syrup.
So I went online and the first one I found recommended 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. I was thinking I was going to try to poach the quince whole, so I used two cups of water and four of sugar.
Then Kitty pointed out that the instructions said to slice the quince. Well, shoot. Of course.
We dropped the slices in with the seeds still intact, just to see what would happen. The seeds contain a lot of natural pectin, which is what helps fruit jelly become jellified.
At some point I noticed--or Kitty read--that Parsons actually said 1 part sugar to 1 part water. Too late, buster. You have to get my attention and you have to hold it.
It took a lot longer than 45 minutes for the quince slices to turn rosy and look really cooked. But oh my, what a delicate and lovely flavor.
Serving recommendation is with a couple of vanilla cookies on the side.
I think there was so much sugar, though, that I more or less candied the quince rather than poaching it.
I'll try this again using the correct recipe with less sugar. Also will probably try this recipe found online, which looks spicy and wonderful. Ooh, or this one for membrillo.