One of the great pleasures of the cooler months. Quinces are brilliant added to the morning porridge or served with an after-dinner cheese platter.
4 medium yellow quinces
500g brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1 vanilla bean, split
2 star anise
1 tsp peppercorns
1. Heat the oven to 120 degrees. Rub the skins to remove any down. Trim off the ends of the quinces and discard. Cut the fruit in half lengthways, cut each half into three wedges, and peel. Place both quinces and peel (it helps the colour) in a heatproof, lidded baking dish with the sugar, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, star anise, peppercorns and 1.2 litres of water. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, then cover tightly and bake for six hours, without turning or moving the fruit.
Remove and allow to cool, then gently remove the quince. Cut out and discard the core and seeds. Strain the juices and return to the quinces. Serve with cream, ice-cream or custard.