Quinces, mascarpone, pistachio

Quinces, mascarpone, pistachio

Finding Fire

The smell of ripe quince is intoxicating: a heady, perfumed scent of vanilla, citrus and apple, which speaks of the autumnal treasure that lies deep within. Its astringency means that it is not pleasant to eat raw but, cooked slowly, it not only magically transforms from yellow to a deep ruby red but its flavour takes on a wonderful sweet intensity. Here, the honeyed notes of mead provide a natural sweetness and richness that is perfectly balanced by the fresh mascarpone.


Quantity Ingredient
4 quinces
1/2 vanilla pod
750ml mead
250ml filtered water
20g honey
1 cinnamon stick
zest of 1 orange
1/2 bunch flowering rosemary, flowers picked
or Smoked mascarpone
fresh pistachios


  1. 1. Peel, halve and core the quinces, reserving the peelings and cores.
  2. 2. Wrap the trimmings in muslin (cheesecloth) and place in a large saucepan. Split the vanilla pod, scrape the seeds and place the pod and the seeds in the saucepan with the mead, water, honey, cinnamon and orange zest.
  3. 3. Submerge the quinces in the liquid and, over a low heat, simmer for approximately 6 hours until they become a rich burgundy colour and are very tender.
  4. 4. Prepare your embers and arrange a grill 15 cm (6 in) above the embers.
  5. 5. Add a couple of rosemary sprigs (retaining the woody stems for grilling) to the quince saucepan. Remove from the heat and allow the quinces to cool in the poaching liquid.
  6. 6. Strain the liquid into a saucepan and boil it to reduce to a syrup consistency.
  7. 7. Meanwhile, grill the quinces, cut side down, adding the remaining rosemary stems to the embers for additional fuel and flavour. Brush the reduced syrup on the quinces during the cooking process.
  8. 8. Serve with fresh mascarpone, grated fresh pistachio and picked rosemary flowers.


  • The quinces need time to simmer, so begin this recipe at least 6 hours ahead of time.
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