Poached Quinces

I have a quince tree in the garden that my mother bought me 20 years ago   It holds a very special place in my heart as it was the last thing she gave me before she died.  If you have never tasted a quince it is a fruit that has to be cooked and tastes like a cross between the best apple and the best pear you can imagine.  Maybe the most popular and famous recipe that quince is used for is membrillo – the Spanish quince paste that is frequently eaten alongside manchego cheese.

The quince is a chameleon of fruit for as it cooks it starts to change colour so, depending on how long you cook it it will go from pale to blush and, should  you cook it with lots of sugar, it turns the ruby red of the membrillo


Every year my quince tree produces pale pink simple flowers in the spring which are quite glorious, then  little green down covered fruit that grow until, in late summer, heavy golden fruits that glow in the sunlight.  In fact quinces are thought to be the golden apples produced by Aphrodite in Greek mythology.

The ripe fruit have a glorious smell of honey and apples and a bowl of quinces will scent a whole room  It is simply glorious

08BB34CE-F57B-4FBD-9DB0-A7A780954EAE This recipe poaches the quince with spices such as star anise and bay leaves and the citrus of oranges and lemons   The poached fruit can be used in a crumble, on to of rice pudding, as a base for quince mincemeat or as a topping for Overnight Porridge  They are also delicious on their own with yoghurt for breakfast or cream for pudding. I always double up the quantity of the quince in this recipe as they are so versatile

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 2 medium to large quinces (about 500g in weight)
  • 3 lemon slices plus juice from rest of lemon
  • 3 orange slices
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 whole peppercorns
  • 350g golden caster



  1. Peel core and quarter the quince. Place in a bowl of cold water with squeeze of lemon juice to prevent browning and set aside
  2. To make placing liquid combine remaining ingredients with a litre of water.  Bring to the boil whilst stirring until sugar is dissolved
  3. Reduce heat and add quince wedges.  Cover the pan and simmer for approx 45 mins until flesh is just soft but still holding its shape
  4. Remove from heat and allow quince to sit in syrup to cool s flavour develops and colour darkens a little
  5. Keep cooked quinces in their juices in fridge till ready to use. They will keep several weeks



Save any remaining poaching liquid and add to gin or vodka served over ice for a delicious cocktail





    • Lickthespoon says:

      Thank you. That’s really a lovely thing to say. I always think that good food is about memories don’t you? Shared times It can take you right back with the first mouthful to where you had it and who with. My quince tree is just like that for me with my Mum. The asparagus bed I have is the same for me with my Dad. I bet you have similar memories of your own.

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