I've been digesting my British cookbooks of late and hence bought some quinces at the Farmer's Market last Sunday. (Although, like much else, they are Middle Eastern in origin.) When I bought the two quinces, they were still green, but one goldened over the course of the week. I was impatient, so I cooked them yesterday, especially after some sites said they might never yellow.
I followed Nigella Lawson's basic recipe in "How To Eat," poaching them in a syrup flavored with sherry, honey, cloves, cinnamon and some other spices. However, Because they had some brown mess in parts of them, I decided to cut them up into chunks as opposed to poach in quarters, as advised.
They turned out, well, uninspiring. I was led to believe they'd be ambrosial and complex and achingly sweet, but instead they were reminiscent of grainy boring apples. Even the syrup didn't reduce enough, although I kept having to add more water and sugar to cover. Did I do something wrong? Should I have let them ripen longer? (And where? some sites suggested in a drawer, others in the sun, others in the fridge.) I barely have enough liquid now to cover the pieces--should I reduce further? And it really didn't thicken, despite much information about quinces' overabundance of pectin. Or should I just try again with new quinces? (quince? quincii?)
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