aphrodite’s gift – poached quince

The weather’s only just turned Autumn-like here, but today seemed to be a sneak peek at Winter. Snow has steadily fallen all day, so it seemed like a great time to do up a winter dish of poached quince.

Quince, to those of us in America, is a mysterious fruit. It looks like a pear but also like an apple and has a weird name. The raw consistency of the fruit requires it to be cooked in order to be edible, so it involves a bit more effort. It’s also not readily found in most local grocers and is not something seen in American recipes. It is, however, a fruit with history in European and Middle-Eastern cultures.

Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, was believed to have received quince from Paris (a.k.a. the story of the “golden apple”). Hence, many Greeks traditionally gift quince to newlyweds and is associated with romance. The fruit is also believed to be the forbidden fruit that Eve ate in the Garden of Eden. European cuisine traditionally uses quince in sweet desserts or as fruit toppings for various cereals and yogurts. Middle-Eastern cultures also use quince but traditionally in savory dishes to balance out spicy meats and stews. In any case, quince is a versatile fruit that can be utilized in a wide range of dishes and provides an endless variety of options.

One of the most common and simplest ways to prepare quince is to poach it in a sweet syrup. The end result is a deliciously aromatic and sexy fruit dish.

Simple Poached Quince
– 2 quince, twice quartered and cores removed
– 1 cinnamon stick (ground works well)
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 inch julienned lemon rind
– 1 teaspoon of allspice berries or peppercorns (ground is ok)
– 3 cups water

Bring the water, spices, cinnamon, sugar, and lemon to a boil, and cook 1-2 minutes. Add the quince, and bring the heat down to a healthy simmer. Be careful to not boil the mixture so as to avoid burning the sugar. Cook 45 minutes or until the fruit is soft and the remaining syrup is a nice consistency. Plate and enjoy with granola or by itself.


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