Last Bite: Basic Poached Quince

Enjoy quince over ice cream, stirred into yogurt, and incorporated in baked goods, like our slab pie. The extra syrup is amazing in cocktails or stirred into seltzer. 

Makes about 1 quart poached quince

7 cups water
1½ cups sugar, or a mix of sugar and honey
1 lemon, cut in half
1 vanilla bean, split, or 1 cinnamon stick
4 peppercorns
Pinch salt
8 quince, about 2 pounds

Bring all the ingredients but the quince to a simmer in an 8-quart pot. 

While the poaching liquid comes up to a simmer, prepare the quince. Peel quince, adding about half of the skins to the pot, discarding the rest. Cut the quince in half, and then in quarters, as you would an apple. Core the quince (be careful, raw quince is very hard) and add the quarters to the pot. 

Bring the liquid back up to a simmer, if necessary, and cover the pot. 

Cook slowly until the quince is tender and rosy. This may take as long as 2 hours. Don’t despair, just keep cooking until they are done. 

Let the quince cool in the poaching liquid and refrigerate up to 1 week. The longer it rests in the liquid, the pinker it will become.