Quince Custards

The tender slices of quince are a treat waiting to be discovered underneath the depths of honeyed baked custard. This is a very special pudding, rich yet light, with marvellous flavours, delicious hot from the oven, and maybe even better served at room temperature or barely chilled.

Ingredients

For the Poached Quince

  • 450 g/1 lb quinces
  • 100 g/4 oz caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 150 ml/¼ pint cold water

For the Custard

  • 600 ml/1 pint single cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 generous pinch of saffron filaments
  • 50 g/2 oz clear honey

Method

Peel, core and slice the quinces. Place in a pan with the remaining poached quince ingredients, cover and cook gently for about 30 minutes, until the quince is tender and the juices are thick and jammy. Remove the vanilla pod. Divide between six ramekins.

Whisk together the custard ingredients and pour into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, making sure that the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Cook the custard over a low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Strain and pour over the quinces.

Stand the ramekins in a roasting tin filled with warm water to a depth of 2.5 cm/1 inch. Place in a preheated oven, 140°C/275°F/gas mark 1, and cook for 1 hour, until set. Eat warm or cold.

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