Set the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Wash the quinces under warm water and rub off the fine fur if they are the variety that have it. Cut them in half and remove the hard core. Put the cinnamon, bay leaves, lemon peel and juice into a ceramic roasting dish and sit the quinces on top, cut side up. Drizzle the maple syrup over them and sprinkle with the sugar, then pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the fruit. Cover with foil, making a tight seal, and bake for 2 hours. Check after 90 minutes: the quinces are cooked when a skewer goes through them easily. Let them cool in their syrup as they are very fragile. In the fridge they will keep in the syrup for a few weeks.
© 1997 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.