Serves: 4-6 - Time:
You will probably have to go to a good old-fashioned greengrocer to find quinces-unless you happen to have the tree in your garden. The fruit is inedible raw but cooked (which takes ages) is wonderful. If you’ve eaten membrillo or quince cheese you’ll know its texture is slightly grainy when cooked. Save any of the leftover poaching syrup and make a syllabub with it –you could even serve it with the crumble.
- 250ml maple syrup
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 quinces
- 6 pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm pieces
- For the crumble
- 175g plain flour
- 150g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes
- 55g caster sugar
- 55g demerara sugar
- Put 600ml water in a saucepan with the maple syrup, caster sugar and cinnamon stick. Place over a moderate heat to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile prepare the quinces. Peel the fruit and cut into quarters. Cut out the core-you don’t want any trace as it is very fibrous. Cut into 1cm pieces and add to the saucepan. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for about 1 hour or until the pieces of quince are soft.
- Lift the fruit out of the syrup and put in a suitable crumble pie dish. Turn the heat up and boil the syrup for about 5 minutes until reduced and sticky. Remove the cinnamon stick and pour 4 tablespoons of the syrup over the quinces. Reserve the rest of the syrup to add to cream or other crumbles (see intro).
- Heat the oven to 190˚c, fan oven 170˚c, mark 5. Stir the bits of pear into the quince. For the crumble, put the flour in a bowl and rub in the butter until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugars. Spoon the crumble over the fruit. Cook in the oven for about 35 minutes until the crumble is golden and the fruit is soft but not mushy. Serve warm with custard, cream or ice cream.