Friday, October 23, 2009

Baked Quinces (Coings au Four)

Quinces are not for everyone. Some quinces can be dull and woody, and they are more firm and fibrous than other fruits even when cooked. I have sometimes found good quinces at the farmer's market or a produce market with a lot of Middle Eastern wares. But home-grown quinces seem to taste the best. These quinces from Karen were particularly robust-flavored and tart. I like how the quinces' tangy, almost resinous, flavor goes with this very sweet caramel sauce. If you don't have a quince tree, or don't know someone with a quince tree, make this recipe with apples or pears.
I started with Jane Grigson's recipe for Coings au Four from Jane Grigson's Fruit Book, but I modified it a bit. Here's my Baked Quinces:
2 large quinces
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. cream
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup water*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the quinces in half and scrape out the core with a corer. The quinces are very hard so it will take some force to remove all the hard, pithy part at the center. Put the halves in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the halves so they don't brown. Mix together the sugar, butter, cream and cinnamon in a small bowl until it becomes a paste. Divide the paste between the hollows of the 4 halves. Pour 1/4 cup of water around the quinces and cover with aluminum foil (or top of dish if it has one). Put in oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove when quinces are tender. Serve warm, with the caramel sauce from the bottom of the dish spooned over them.
*I actually used some of the quince-flavored syrup I had left over from poaching some other quinces, and reduced the sugar. This made the sauce richly quincey, but I don't think it's necessary. I bet apple juice would be good, too.


Karen said...

I think I have finally set my Google problems to rights and this comment won't get bounced. I was so inspired by your lovely photos that Owen and I made Quince Galette and, a take off on your baked recipe, poached quinces this morning. Coring the quinces was not easy. The galette also includes some whole Concord grape jam. I will try to get a picture before the kids eat it.

elizabeth said...

Yum yum! Both the baked quinces and the galette make my mouth water. I just discovered quinces recently. I get them at Monteray Market and poach them and put them in yogurt for lunch. Love the fragrance and rosy color when cooked. Betsy