The first time I ever cooked quinces, I bought a couple at a farmers market from a farmer who was surprised that "someone your age" knew what a quince was. They were the size of grapefruit, and hard as rocks. I had to hack them up with a cleaver, and developed blisters on my hands in the process.
The ones I've been getting at Safeway are smaller, about the size of a large apple, and while they're still tough little fruit, they don't require a cleaver.
Here's how I've been cooking them:
2 cinnamon sticks
2 cardamom pods
1/2 cup honey
pomegranate molasses (optional)
Cut the quinces into wedges. Remove the seeds and the woody stuff that encapsulates the seeds.
Put the quinces wedges into a saucepan, and add enough water to just about cover them. Lightly bruise the cardamom pods (I just put them on the counter and squish them a bit with a can or the flat of a knife) and put them and the cinnamon sticks into the water. Add the honey. Drizzle in a little pomegranate molasses.
Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 90 minutes.
Remove the quince and set it aside. Fish out the cinnamon and cardamom and discard. Turn the heat up to high and boil the cooking liquid until it's reduced down to a syrup. Strain it and let it cool.
Serve the quince drizzled with the syrup. (The syrup is also nice on plain yogurt and I bet it would be nice on ice cream.)
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