The ultimate seasonal autumn fruit has to be the quince. Whether made into jam, or poached like this, it makes a healthy and flavourful autumnal dessert. I like to serve this dish as is, but you can also top it with ice cream for some extra decadence!
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 40 minutes | Total Time: 2 hours
- 2 quince, sliced in half and cored
- 1 lemon, halved
- Water, enough to submerge the quince in a bowl
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 bag Chai Spice tea (I used Stash Tea)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 star anise
- ½ teaspoon good-quality vanilla extract
Begin by preparing the quince. Use a sharp paring knife to slice the quince in half, lengthwise. Do not peel the skin. Rub the lemon over the cut side of the quince immediately to prevent browning.
Use your knife to cut out the core of the quince, removing all the seeds and tough center. You can use a melon-baller to help with this. Be extremely careful as the quince is very tough and your knife my slip. Once cored, rub the quince again with the lemon and submerge the quince in a bowl of cool water until you are ready to poach.
Next, prepare the poaching liquid. Boil the water in a kettle and once hot, pour into a small saucepot. Add the chai teabag into the pot and let it steep for 2 minutes- no longer. We just want that initial chai tea flavour and we don’t want it to be very intense at this point. Remove the teabag after 2 minutes and discard.
Next, add the sugars to the pot along with all the spices and bring the liquid to a boil. Once hot, remove the quince from the bowl of water and add them to the pot. Make sure that the quince are completely covered in water. If they are not, top off the pot with a bit more water as needed. Boil the contents of the pot on high heat for 5 minutes, uncovered, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the quince goes in easily.
Remove the pot from the heat as well as the lid. Let the quince cool to room temperature in the poaching liquid for about 30-45 minutes. You can even let the quince sit in the liquid overnight to get a deeper richer flavour.
Next we will reduce the poaching liquid to become a chai-slice syrup. Remove the quince and the whole spices from the pot. Place the pot over high heat, uncovered, and boil the contents of the pot until the contents have reduced down to ¼ of the poaching liquid that you began with. When measured, the syrup should be around ½ of a cup. Reducing the poaching liquid down to a syrup can take anywhere between 10-20 minutes, depending on the heat of your stove.
Once reduced, remove the pot from the heat and add the quince back into the pot to warm through, tossing them in the hot syrup. Finally, add the vanilla extract and toss everything together. The vanilla adds a great essence and is added at the end of the cooking process to avoid the flavour from disappearing.
Place the warmed quince on a plate, spoon over the warm syrup and enjoy!