Tuesday, 8 October 2013


My mam recently brought home a bag packed full of tiny quinces from someone she knows. I was thinking that there is a lack of recipes which make quinces their focus so I thought I’d put them in a crumble. A handful of quince flesh was all I had to show for half an hour’s worth of peeling, chopping and a sliced finger nail. So I bulked it up with other crumble favourites and let the quinces serve as an occasional fragrant pop. But I didn’t let the quinces get entirely lost. I bypassed the peeling and chopping by chucking the rest of them in a pan, boiling up until stewed and then making a syrup out of them. The syrup is mega powerful; it whacks you at the back of the throat with its tartness, so I recommend serving the sweet and warming crumble with ice-cream and then pouring over to liven things up.

The juice of 1 lemon
350g quinces     
5 apples     
2 pears
85g sugar
Crumble Topping
160g flour
100g unrefined sugar (it adds more crunch)
75g cold butter

Quince Syrup
450g quinces
150g sugar
Splash of vanilla
Pinch cinnamon
40g butter

Preheat oven to fan180/200/6
Squeeze lemon juice into the pan you’re going to stew the fruit in to stop browning. Peel and chop the quinces around the core, and then do the same for the apples and pears. Bring to boil with the sugar and about 100ml water and stew until the fruit just beings to strew. Take off the heat and set to one side while you make the topping.

Rub all of the topping ingredients together in a bowl until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pour the fruit into an oven proof dish then sprinkle over the crumble topping, and even out slightly. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and crisp on the top.

In the meantime make the syrup. Put all the quinces, as they are in a large pan and pour over 400ml water. Bring to boil and strew for about 15 minutes until they break down and turn syrup-like. Take off the heat and strain through a sieve into another pan, pushing all of the juice/flavour out of the quinces. Add the sugar, vanilla and cinnamon to the quince liquid and bring to boil. Keep simmering until it starts to thicken then add the butter to make glossy. Once thick take off the heat. Leave to cool slightly and serve with crumble. 


  1. We have an ornamental quince in the garden (red flowers in spring) which does produce very hard green fruit, but I think your quinces may be an English variety? They do smell gorgeous but not sure edible. In olden times (1930's) my father used to have a quince tree in the orchard to mix with apples in pies etc. Beautifully retro cooking!

    1. My quinces were English, had yellow skins like the pictures. I don't think you're supposed to eat these ones raw either, because they're so tart and the flesh is really hard until cooked.
      and that's a great compliment, I'm glad the combination of apples and quinces really dates back!