Large kitchen knife or cleaver
Baking tray or similar
3 medium quinces
Half a lemon
Half cup white sugar (you may use more, to taste)
1 litre hot water
Vanilla: 1 Vanilla bean, scraped (or teaspoon vanilla essence)
Optional: you may add a quill of cinnamon or some grated nutmeg.
— Fill a large bowl with water. Squeeze half a lemon into the water to acidulate it.
— Peel quinces. A firm hand with a potato peeler helps, as they are hard to peel.
— Quarter each quince. A large knife or a cleaver is recommended: quinces are very hard.
— Remove seeds and discard. (You may wish to keep them; the seeds are rich in pectin, and are handy to set jam or conserve, for which purpose they were used for centuries until commercial gelatin supplanted them.)
— Place each piece of quince into the bowl of acidulated water to prevent discolouration.
— Dissolve sugar in hot water, in the baking tray.
— Add quince pieces and vanilla (and, if desired, add cinnamon and nutmeg), and cover with aluminium foil.
— Bake in a low oven (150 degrees Celsius, 300 degrees Fahrenheit) for between two and five hours. The longer you bake them, the richer their colour.
Recipe Testing and Photos: John Tranter