Champion quince

Image via Wikipedia

We had quinces at work, great big yellow-green ones, from Italy I think. Quinces are one of the seasonal benchmarks for me. Blackberries into apples into cycling in gloves into Sunday lunches into sloe picking into quince. I love the turning of the seasons, when you feel all optimistic about what’s to come, and autumn is the best one (because spring into summer often doesn’t quite happen, and autumn into winter I’m sometimes too cold to appreciate). Because quinces take so long to cook, they’re a good initiation into the more warming, slow and gentle food we start to eat as it gets darker and colder, and they have the added bonus of making indoors smell like a lovely place to potter around.

There’s a whole section on what to do with a glut of quinces in Stevie Parle’s book, ‘Real Food From Near and Far’ (which is a great book, full of interesting recipes and super aesthetically pleasing). I don’t think four quinces counts as a glut, but I was drawn to the recipe for baked quinces. It involves half a bottle of white wine, just enough sugar, and a lot of bay leaves. I actually got scared and halved the amount of bay leaves. That was plenty for me, but maybe I’m just unadventurous? Anyway, it turns out that a stash of aromatic, golden, tender, faintly bay-fragranced quince is a very good thing to have in your fridge. I’ve been eating it with greek yoghurt and on porridge for breakfast, it was great topped with an almond heavy crumble mix, and today I made a cake with a spiral of quince segments under a cinnamon-sugar top. But that’s another recipe.

Baked quince

2 large quinces
1/2 bottle white wine
150g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
5-10 bay leaves
4 cloves
a thumb sized piece of root ginger, peeled and chopped

Preheat the oven to 150c.

Peel and core the quinces and cut into wedges. Put all the ingredients into a deep baking tray or casserole dish, cover tightly and bake for an hour or two, until tender all the way through.

From Stevie Parle’s ‘Real Food From Near and Far’

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