Two in one: Fragrant Poached Quinces & Fragrant Quince Jelly
Quinces being a member of the rose family are naturally perfumed so to add aromatics to them might seem a little too much but this works beautifully – the star anise, the vanilla, the bay and the cinnamon all accentuating the quinces natural flavour.
I used to go to a restaurant in Beyoglu in Istanbul where the bottled poached quince were stacked up in enormous jars to last the winter and where they were used for the simple but delicious “kaymakli ayva tatlisi” (poached quinces in sugar syrup served with buffalo clotted cream). This was the inspiration behind my fragrant version and my “Bosphorous Afternoon Tea”…. these quinces, fresh scones, little glasses of dark sweet Turkish tea, “kaymak” and that view. Magic.
And as for that colour? how can something that starts off looking like an apple and a hard unforgiving apple at that end up a deep crimson red? The quince is unique in that it responds well to “over” cooking and in fact changes colour as it cooks. The longer it cooks the deeper the colour.
2kgs quinces (if they are furry just rub the fur off with a damp cloth)
1 kg sugar
2 litres of water
4 star aniseed
2 cinnamon batons
2 vanilla sticks
2 bay leaves
Gadgets & Gizmos
A casserole dish or heavy bottomed saucepan with a well fitting lid.
- Set the oven to 150C
- Peel the quinces and halve them. Remove the core or if you want to you can do this part later when the fruit is soft.
- DO NOT THROW AWAY THE SKIN AND CORE! put that all in with the fruit as this is full of valuable pectin!
- Put all the ingredients in the pan and bring to the boil
- Once the mixture has boiled place in the oven
- Check periodically on the colour and softness. They are done when they are a nice rosy red and a knife slices through easily. Approx 4-6 hours. they are better if left overnight as they will take on more of the aromatics. Use to make a crumble, tarte tatin or just eat with cream the Turkish way or ice cream or custard or yoghurt.
KEEP THE SYRUP THAT YOU DO NOT EAT COMPLETE WITH THE PEEL AND CORES TO MAKE JELLY.
This jelly already has some sugar added as it started life as a light 2:1 syrup. Quinces are higher in pectin than even apples so now we can take this syrup and add some water. here is my recipe for this particular syrup made from the poached fruit.
Measure the syrup from the poached fruit. Lets say you have 500ml of syrup.
Add 75% of the quantity of water. This would be 375ml.
Add the juice of 1 lemon (strictly not necessary from the pectin point of view but I like how citrus adds bright notes to jams and jellies) for every litre approx of juice and also keep the zest for the same reason.
Add 80% sugar to your liquid. here you would add 80% x 875 so 700g sugar
Boil until setting point – see The Jam making Rules
Add the lemon zest just before potting in hot sterilised jars.
This is a beautiful bright fragrant jelly. so so sophisticated.