Saturday, December 12, 2009

Vitamin Q

The quince is not a familiar fruit to most people. We've heard of it possibly or maybe eaten it in the form of membrillo, quince paste, with cheese. But rarely do we encounter the fruit in the wild. So, when I saw some at the farmer's market, I bought a few for a pie.

They look like big, lumpy, ugly yellow pears with a kind of fuzz on their skin. But they smell like hyper-apples (with a hint a pineapple in this variety). You can't eat them raw - you have to peel, core, slice poach them for about 30-60 minutes. At that point, they turn pink and the poaching water turns sweet and quincy.

I'll skip what I did with the quinces (quince-apple pie). The recipe I was reading suggested using the pink poaching juice for quince-mopolitans:

1 oz lime juice
1 oz triple sec
2 oz quince juice from poaching quinces
2 oz. vodka

Shake over ice and strain into martini glass

We liked these all right, but the quince flavor was a little mild, so I decided to cook the juice down to syrup, from a pint to about 4 oz. I mixed up a few, and Mrs. Spenser drank hers down, pronouncing it an improvement. I started tidying up, and when I got back to mine, the syrup had set up like jelly - quinces are full of pectin. It wasn't a full blown Jello shot, but it didn't exactly pour, either.

Interesting effect, but it'll never catch on. The pie came out well, though.

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