According to Wikipedia, quince (Cydonia oblonga) is the sole member of the genus Cydonia in the family Rosaceae (which also contains apples and pears, among other fruits). It is a deciduous tree that bears a pome fruit, similar in appearance to a pear, and bright golden-yellow when mature. Throughout history the cooked fruit has been used as food, but the tree is also grown for its attractive pale pink blossoms and other ornamental qualities. (Note to self – need to get a more authentic reference for plants.)
Although quinces are eaten raw in the tropics, just like apples, in colder climates, quince has a tougher rind and astringent flesh which makes it too acidic and bitter to be enjoyed raw. So although our summers are definitely not “colder”, I guess because of our cold winter, it is primarily eaten cooked.
Here’s Patricia’s description of the process:
Slow baked quince looks rich and beautiful and smells wonderful. I love eating the warm quince with cream or yogurt with the syrup, formed during the baking process, drizzled over it all.
We picked a few quince from the laden tree next door. It was early enough in the day to process them and bake them to be ready for dessert that night. As I layered the quince in the deep oven pan and drizzled honey over it I thought about sterilizing a bottle for the left over quince and syrup. As much as I like the warm quince I am not as enthusiastic about the cold quince. So while I was thinking about the deep red syrup that would form, semolina cake popped into my head. That is just perfect. Semolina cake would soak up all that syrup and it would be delicious to eat for two or three days. And I would not need to refrigerate the syrup in a bottle.
I finished sprinkling cinnamon and lemon myrtle over the quince, added some water and covered it with wet baking paper before securing the lid of the pan and popping it into the oven.
Just before dinner I mixed a semolina cake and baked it in the oven as well. I tried to time the completion of the cake with the time I would take the quince out of the oven, so that I could pour the hot quince syrup straight over the cake.
It was every bit as good as I anticipated it to be. It made a seriously delicious semolina cake. Low in sugars and high in really good nutrients too. Everything a decadent dessert can be.
Of course, some others are also interested, but I haven’t really seen them eat any of the quince. I think this one just likes sitting on the fence and being part of the action: