This simple poached quince recipe is a delicious way to transform the fresh fruit into a delectable sweet treat that can be enjoyed warm from the pot, or as the foundation to another dessert.
Quince is one of those forgotten fruits that I really hope starts to come back into popularity. While it takes a bit of time to make the hard fresh fruit edible and delicious, it’s not difficult, and definitely worth it.
Making poached quince is easy. It’s most often used to get it ready for other baked goods like cakes, pies, or tarts, but I actually enjoy making this just to enjoy a sweet, fruity dessert.
They’re soaked in a citrus-infused sugar syrup, then we top with a lightly spiced mascarpone cream and chopped pistachios. It becomes a fantastic fall dessert that makes a cozy treat.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Enhances the natural sweet and spicy flavors of quince as it cooks.
- Easy to make and stores for a week.
- Can be eaten as is, or used to make many other delicious desserts.
There are two parts to this recipe that transform it into a fall dessert. First there’s the poaching liquid, then there’s the creamy topping that I highly recommend you serve along with it.
Poaching Liquid and Fruit:
- Quince – You want 4 ripe quinces for this recipe. They’ll need to be peeled, cored, and halved.
- Water – Use 5 cups to make sure there’s plenty of liquid for the quince to cook in.
- Brown sugar – I like to use 1 cup of brown sugar, you can use coconut sugar or turbinado sugar as well.
- Orange zest – Instead of zesting this with a grater, use a vegetable peeler to remove 2 strips of the orange rind. Try to avoid the white underneath, or gently scrape it off with a small knife so it doesn’t add bitterness to the pot.
- Vanilla bean – A fresh whole bean, split to expose the seeds is ideal, but you can also substitute 1 tablespoon of extract instead.
- Lemon – You want both the zest and the juice of half a lemon, which is about 1 to 1½ tablespoons of juice, and 1 to 2 teaspoons of zest.
- Mascarpone cheese – Think of this as a less sweet, fluffier version of cream cheese. You want it at room temperature so it blends up smoothly.
- Heavy cream – Just a tablespoon adds creaminess and lightness.
- Cardamom– A tiny pinch will add an herbal, sweet, bright flavor. If you don’t have it, add in a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg instead.
- Vanilla – I used extract for the cream, just a half teaspoon is the perfect amount.
Poaching the fresh fruit isn’t difficult, you’ll just need a saucepan and a bit of time to get it done. Start by combining the water, sugar, both zests, lemon juice, and vanilla bean into the pan and placing it over medium heat.
While that comes to a simmer you can peel and prep the quince. Add them to the pot as you cut them because exposure to the air will start to cause oxidation, or browning.
Once all of them are in the liquid, add more water if you need to. They should be completely covered to poach properly. Let them simmer gently in the liquid for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the texture is tender.
You can make the mascarpone cream at any time while they cook. Simply combine the mascarpone, cardamom, vanilla, and heavy cream in a bowl and beat to combine. Store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
Serving and Storage
When the quince is cooked, you can gently remove them from the poaching liquid. They’re delicious served warm with a heaping spoonful of cream in the middle, topped with a sprinkle of chopped pistachios. It’s so simple, but looks absolutely gourmet!
If you’re prepping extra for other baked goods too, like a quince cake or pie, then let the remaining poached quince cool in the liquid, and store it all together in the fridge for up to one week.
While quince is certainly delicious as a jam, cake, or tart, I think you’ll agree that eating them syrupy and warm, fresh from a sweet poaching liquid is just as tasty.
It’s a cozy way to enjoy a seasonal fall fruit that highlights its sweet and spiced natural flavor. You can check out my quince guide to learn more about it if you’re interested in discovering how else it can be eaten.
Don’t forget to check out some of my other fall fruit desserts while you’re here!
- Healthy Persimmon Pie
- Apple Enchiladas
- Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cookies
- Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Brownies
Citrus and Vanilla Poached Quince
For the poached quince:
- 4 medium quinces
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 strips orange zest , peeled with a vegetable peeler
- ½ vanilla bean , split and the seeds scraped
- ½ lemon , juiced and zested
For the mascarpone cream:
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese , at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- Tiny pinch of cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chopped pistachios , for garnish
The poached quince.
- Add the water, brown sugar, orange zest, vanilla bean seeds, lemon zest, and juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Prepare the quinces by peeling, coring, and cutting them into halves. Place them into the poaching liquid as you go to prevent oxidation. If necessary, add more water to cover the quinces completely.
- Simmer for about 30-40 minutes, until the quinces are tender. The cooking time depends on the variety and freshness of the fruit.
- Keep the poached quinces in the syrup until ready to use. They can be stored in the fridge for about a week.
- You can enjoy the poached quince right away, add it to other baked goods, or make the mascarpone cream and turn it into a beautiful dessert.
The mascarpone cream.
- Combine all the ingredients except pistachios in a bowl. Top the poached quince with a dollop of the mascarpone cream and garnish with chopped pistachios. Enjoy!