PUT THE WATER IN A SAUCEPAN to heat. Rinse the quinces, then using a sharp paring knife, quarter the fruits. Carefully cut out the cores. Hold each piece firmly as you work so that it doesn't snap in 2. Slice each quarter into pieces about ½-inch thick, then cut away the peels. As you work, put the cores and peels in the pan of water—they will impart both flavor and body to the water, due to the natural pectin in the fruit. Allow the skins and cores to simmer slowly, covered, for about 20 minutes, then strain, keeping the liquid. Don't worry about the peeled fruit discoloring—it will turn pink when cooked. Combine the sugar, spices, orange peel and the strained liquid in a non-corroding pan. Bring to a boil, stir to dissolve the sugar and add the quinces. Cut out a disk of parchment paper and place it directly on the surface to prevent any exposed slices from drying out. Simmer slowly until the quinces have turned pink and are slightly translucent but still firm to the touch, 2-to-2 ½ hours. When done, transfer them to a bowl with the syrup and chill well before serving.
Once poached in syrup, quinces will last for weeks in the refrigerator.
Makes 1 Quart
DEBORAH MADISON - PRODIGY GUEST CHEFS COOKBOOK
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