Friday, February 3, 2012

Poached Quince with Walnuts

Quince is a funny looking, lumpy shaped fruit that is not very easy to eat. When mature, they get sweeter, but they are never very sweet. Its texture and tart taste makes it a perfect fruit to cook into marmalades and jams. It has been appreciated and cooked throughout the Middle East for centuries. 

The original home of quince is the mountainous Causcasus region that lies between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea (Northern Turkey, Iran and Southern Georgia). 

Greek writings from around 600BC mentions quince as one of the offerings at wedding ceremonies. Later cultivated in Mesopotamia around 200BC, quince was considered the "golden apple". Later it was introduced to Europe and the Americas, enjoyed by many, but never as popular as apples.

Hope you enjoy the poached quince recipe below. Surprisingly, it is a good alternative to poached pears or apples.

  • 3 quinces
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 1cup sugar (If the fruits are very tart, I use 2 cups of sugar)
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoonful of cloves
  • 1 cup coarsely grated walnuts
  • Vanilla ice-cream (optional)
  • Sprigs of mint
If you have two tea diffusers, you can use one for the seeds, the other for the cloves. This would make it easy to discard the seeds and cloves after you cook with them.

Baby quince in June, won't be ready till late fall
Peel the quinces. Cut them lengthwise in 6 slices each. Remove and save the seeds. Cooking with the seeds add color and consistency to the dessert. Remove the rough portion that surrounds the seeds in the middle. 

Put the cloves in one of the tea diffusers.

cloves in the tea diffuser

Put the saved seeds into a tea diffuser.

quince seeds in the tea diffuser

Place quince slices in a large pot. Place cinnamon sticks, the tea diffusers that hold the seeds and the cloves in the pot. 

slices of quince, spices and seeds in the pot

Add sugar on top of the slices. Pour the wine over the sugar. 

sugar and wine added, ready to cook

Bring it to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Let it simmer until the quince is tender.  Wine would reduce to a thicker liquid. Remove from heat. Let it cool to room temperature. Remove and discard the seeds, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Place quince slices on a serving dish. As it cools, the sauce will thicken. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve chilled with grated walnuts over it. You can garnish with sprigs of mint. It tastes great with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Afiyet Olsun! Bon Appetit!

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