These cardamom poached quince makes a wonderful, delicious start to an autumnal morning. It also pairs perfectly with granola, overnight oats, yogurt, and ice cream.
Over the past few years my mom has become my partner in crime in the kitchen. She’ll bring home the most exotic veggies and fruits from the supermarket and friends’ gardens. This week she surprised me with five pounds of pineapple quinces. Quinces are in the same family as apples and pears but they’re often overlooked. With their knobbly shape, fuzzy golden skin, and unyielding flesh, they are the unsung hero of winter. When buying quinces, look for fragrant unblemished golden fruits. If you find green ones, leave them on the kitchen counter and let them ripen. Unlike apples and pears, they keep well for weeks. I love coming down to the kitchen and being greeted by their intoxicating floral scent.
Depending on my mood, I’ll bake a quince tarte tatin, galette, or cake, roast them with meat, pickle them, or turn them into membrillo, but often I’ll poach them to eat with yogurt, oatmeal, granola, or ice cream. When cooked slowly, their white flesh gradually changes to a gently blush pink then deepens to a dark red reminiscent of a sunset. Quinces can be poached with sugar, maple syrup, or honey and a pod of vanilla or whatever spices you have in your pantry.
My favorite version is honey and cardamom. I simply crush the cardamom pods with the back of my knife to release the seeds, throw them in a pot of water with honey, some orange juice and zest, and let them cook to perfection. When they are ready, I throw them in a bowl of labneh with chopped pistachios and a drizzle of the poaching liquid. The remaining quinces can go into a lidded glass jar bathed in syrup and refrigerated for up to a week.
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Cardamom honey poached quince with labneh
- 4 medium quinces, peeled, cored, and halved
- 1/2 cup honey
- 4 cups water
- Thinly peeled rind and juice of 1 orange
- 10 green cardamom pods
- 2 cups labneh
- 1/4 cup pistachio, roughly chopped
- quince syrup for serving
- In a medium saucepan, combine honey, water, orange juice, orange rind, and cardamom pods.
- Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
- Lower the heat and cook gently until the quince is tender when pierced with a knife, about 50-60 minutes.
- When the quince pieces are tender, remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Continue cooking the poaching liquid and let it reduce to a syrup, about another 30 minutes.
- Divide the labneh into four serving plates. Add the quince. Top with pistachios and the syrup.
- Store the remaining quinces and syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.