Monday, 13 December 2010

Not in the nick of time

Yesterday's Observer Food Monthly had some lovely, light alternatives to the usual Christmas puddings, including this one for quince.

It's a classic, elegant dish by Nigel Slater, celebrating the pure flavours of good quality ingredients.  I'd love to try it but I ate all my quinces back in October.

Too late Nigel, too late...

Nigel Slater's belated poached quinces with goat's cheese

I like the sweet fruitiness of the baked quince with the goat's cheese. It is a short step on from the traditional marriage of quince paste and cheese. The baked fruit is good on its own, too.

Serves 4

honey 4 generous tbsp
water 500ml
smallish quinces 4
lemon a half
quince, medlar, apple or redcurrant jelly 6 tbsp
goat's cheese 8 slices

Put the honey and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Peel and halve the quinces and rub them with lemon to stop them browning. (Quinces discolour even quicker than pears.)

Lower the quinces into the syrup and let them simmer till tender. They may be ready in 25 minutes or may take up to 40, depending how hard they are. They need to be tender, even though they are going to be cooked again.

Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Lift the quinces out of the syrup and put them in a shallow baking dish or roasting tin. Measure out 100ml of the cooking liquid and add to the quinces. Add the fruit jelly and bake for about 30 minutes, basting occasionally to make sure the fruit and its jelly are not overcooking, until the fruit is very soft. Ideally, there will be a little sticky jelly or syrup in the bottom of the dish. Remove from the oven and cool.

Serve the quinces with the slices of goat's cheese and any syrup or jelly from the baking dish.

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