October 2011 recipes: quince

Picture 27 I promised myself in October 2010 that I'd write about things just enough in advance to make them work so that I could have some things to make close at hand from fresh produce at Farmer's Market, and regretted that I didn't have quince recipes ready.   To remedy that, here's a few.

Quince caramel from Chez Pim. Poach quinces in syrup, use the quince syrup to make caramels. I'm not a candy thermometer owner, but it does sound delicious.

The fuzzy, fragrant fruits stared at me from the countertop for a couple of days. I thought I would poach them in simple syrup and keep in the fridge. The sweetened quince and the poaching syrup make a wonderful topping for my morning yogurt. The batch that my neighbor Beccy and I made a couple of weeks ago is running out, so this would be a good time to replenish. Then the real inspiration struck, caramel! I could use the sweet poaching liquid to make quince caramels, combining two of my favorite things to eat in the world, caramel and quince – I just love quince, I even love a restaurant named after it. How wonderful would that be?

Chicken tagine with quinces comes via The Migraineur, quoting a recipe from Larousse for the preparation but spicing it with a traditional tagine.

Still mindful of all those recipes calling for bucketloads of sugar, I was curious about how a raw quince would taste. While preparing the dish, I cut myself a very fine sliver and ate it. The texture was like an Asian pear, pleasingly granular, but a lot drier. Mostly I got that wonderful flowery fruity fragrance. Encouraged, I cut myself a larger chunk. Wow! Talk about pucker. It was like sucking on an inferior teabag – quinces are clearly loaded with tannins. So, no, I don’t think quinces can be eaten raw. However, I am encouraged by this recipe to think that quinces do not have to be sweetened.

Beef with Quince, aka Moschari me Kydonia, is a savory stew courtesy of Mama's Taverna.

It’s not glamous-looking, that’s for sure, but the tartness of the quince makes it zingier than you’d expect. This is NOT a boring beef stew!

The quince image is from Meech, 1888.

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