One of the simplest ways of cooking quince, this compôte is delicious with a dollop of thick cream and a crisp biscuit. A plus point for quinces is that the peel and cores aren't wasted. They make a rosy syrup to trickle over the compôte or use as a gleaming glaze for fruit tarts.
quinces 2 large, weighing about 500g in total
water 1 litre
vanilla pod 1, split
1) Using a sharp knife, quarter the quinces lengthways. Remove the peel and set to one side. Cut out the cores and set these aside too. Slice the peeled quarters lengthways into segments.
2) Put the segments in a large pan with the water, sugar and split vanilla pod. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 1½ hours, or until tender but not disintegrating. Leave to cool in the pan.
3) Strain the liquid, tip the quinces in a serving bowl and leave to cool.
4) Pour the liquid back into the pan, and add the reserved peel and cores. Boil for 20–30 minutes until syrupy.
5) Strain, leave to cool, then pour over the quinces.
Recipe © Christine McFadden, December 2013