There is a tree next to my garden that bears little, pear-apple like fruits known as quince. Quince! Too tart to be eaten raw, these little darlings must be coaxed into palatability through contact with heat. Heat, and lots and lots of sugar. However, with both of these things incorporated they transform from a dull yellow to a lovely pink. This difficult fruit's sweet interior thus been exposed, they blush from revelation. How adorable.
I tried two quince recipes today. One for poached quince with cinnamon and vanilla, and one for quince paste, which will be dried, sugared, and cut into squares for use with fancy cheese courses. The former is done, and has turned a lovely shade of pink, though the pieces of fruit themselves have deteriorated, much unlike the photo provided on The Wednesday Chef's lovely blog, where I got the recipe. The paste has yet to be scrutinized, as it's unfair to judge it while it's still cooling. The bits on the spoon were quite lovely, though.
As any functional alcoholic, my interest in the poached quince inevitably turned to the possibilities in a martini glass. Since the syrup in which the poached quince floats is nothing more than simple syrup with fruit flavoring, it can be incorporated into several alluring cocktails, the once most recently sampled being "The Quimlet", which is nothing more than a Gimlet with quince syrup instead of Rose's Lime Juice. Quite optimal, as far as girly drinks go.
The syrup itself is relatively easy, as long as you can locate the quince, which should be available in any reputable autumnal farmer's market, or in my backyard. If you're in the area, come help yourself!
Makes quite a bit.
[Adapted from the Wednesday Chef's Poached Quince with Vanilla and Cinnamon]
3 or 4 large quinces
2 cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 vanilla bean, split
4 cups filtered water
1. Peel, core, and quarter the quinces. This may prove more time consuming than you think, they're tough little buggers. Meanwhile, combine sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and water in a large pot. Heat gently til sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil.
2. Add quince to sugar solution and bring to just below a boil. Then, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for about 45 minutes, until the fruit can be easily stabbed with a knife. The syrup should have turned a lovely pink color.
3. Remove mixture from heat and let cool. Pass liquid through a strainer lined with cheesecloth to remove the bits from the syrup. Pour syrup into a clean, sealable, container and store in fridge. The syrup should keep for at least two weeks.
With your delectable quince syrup, you can make a batch of Quimlets!
Makes one quimlet.
You will need:
A chilled martini glass
3 ounces gin
1.5 ounces quince syrup
splash of soda
1. Combine gin, syrup, soda, and ice cubes in a shaker (or a glass, whichever) and mix vigorously.
2. Pour into chilled martini glass and enjoy with intelligent conversation and applicable cheese.
Woo! I also considered a Quin and Tonic, but haven't explored that. Maybe next drink.