Flavoured with a host of warming spices, these pickled quinces make a tart and peppery addition to a cheese or meat platter and balance the rich quail in this winter salad.
- 310 ml (1¼ cups) apple cider vinegar
- 220 g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 3 cloves
- 3 juniper berries
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon quill, broken in half
- 500 g (about 2 small) quinces
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place all ingredients, except quinces, in a large saucepan with 200 ml water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes or until slightly reduced. Remove from heat. Set aside.
Peel quinces and cut into quarters, placing them in the pickling solution as you go to prevent them from discolouring.
Return pan to medium heat, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until quince is just tender; you still want them to be a little firm. Remove quinces with a slotted spoon and transfer to sterilised jars (see Note). Return vinegar mixture to the boil and cook for 10 minutes or until it has reduced to 200 ml.
Pour hot liquid with spices over quinces, then seal jars immediately. It’s best kept in a cool, dark place for a month before eating to allow flavours to mellow. Once opened it will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 months.
• It is essential to sterilise jars before filling them to prevent bacteria from forming. You can reuse any glass jars as long as the lids seal well. Or buy kilners (jars with rubber seals). To sterilise jars in the oven, preheat oven to 120°C. Wash jars and lids in soapy water, rinse, then dry. Place jars and non-plastic lids on an oven tray and place in oven for 20 minutes. Remove and fill while still hot. To sterilise jars in the dishwasher, place them in the dishwasher on the hottest cycle. Dry with a clean tea towel and fill while still hot.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Crawford. Food Preparation by Lucy Schluter.
As seen in Feast magazine, June 2014, Issue 32.