It’s been over a month since I got excited about some bright, beautiful, aromatic quince on a sunny autumn day in Berlin. I took them home and poached them in a simple syrup made with raw sugar, some organic orange slices and several sprigs of rosemary. Then I worked them into a delicious amaranth porridge. Then winter crept in (although you wouldn’t know it, balmy Berlin weather and all)… I’ve done another version with Christmas-y spices (cinnamon stick, cloves, allspice and lots of fresh ginger). And I had ideas for a subsequent pre-holiday-frenzy post with some food present suggestions. But alas, the time has flown and now it’s Christmas eve and I’m sitting here listening to Sufjan Steven’s seemingly Christmas-themed “Silver & Gold” album (coincidence!) and FINALLY posting this.
I am determined to share it with the world, however, because everyone should get more excited about quince more often. The fruit has a long and illustrious history (cultivation may have pre-dated apple culture), the word ‘marmalade’ derives from the Portuguese word ‘marmelo’ for the fruit, and its colour, smell and flavour are just all-around delightful. Bright yellow skin and a lovely lush pink once cooked, intensely aromatic, subtly floral and pleasantly tart, it can stand on its own or flavour pies, porridge, stews or pretty much anything you throw at it (according to Apicius, the Romans combined them with leeks!). I’ll share the easy poaching technique, which may be adapted to suit your palette and pantry. Then I’ll give an example of how you can use the results (fruit and flavoured syrup) in a luscious, rich breakfast or dessert porridge. As usual, my main goal here is to inspire you to get in the kitchen, so use this post as a starting point to dream up new and imaginative ways to make use of this underrated fruit!
As for the unrealized food gift guide: it’s a little late now but Sarah B from My New Roots posted a good version a few years ago which I refer to every year. I am off to cook some giant lentils and roast some colourful red and golden beets and potatoes with rosemary (we have two rosemary plants in the kitchen right now, which explains why I’m using it all over the place. Besides the fact that it’s way up there on my favourite fresh herbs list.) for a simple, solo, Christmas eve meal. Love and laughter and delicious food in these festive times!
Pumpkin and quince amaranth porridge