Quince poached in London Mead, rose and cardamom, on a bed of mascarpone topped with toasted Kentish cobnuts

This desert of quince poached in London Mead, rose and cardamom and sprinkled with Kentish cobnuts is a real after dinner treat and brings together three ingredients that I haven’t used before.

Seasonal ingredients, by their nature should be abundant and easy to find. However, with quince, it seems that you really have to hunt them out. I spent a rainy Saturday afternoon schlepping around south east London before I found a greengrocers in Dulwich with an abundance of them. It was like finding a box of yellow, furry treasure.

Quince are from the same family as apples and pears, but infamously only really realise their potential on cooking, when they transform from inedible bitter, tough fruit into a soft, yielding, floral scented delicacy. They take a bit of work to prepare but are worth the effort.

Mead too, is a new discovery for me. After my interview with the Bee Wrangler, Luke Dixon, a whole world of honey and honey products opened up to me. Gosnells London Mead was a really exciting discovery. It is made from citrus blossom honey and has a fresh, light, citrusy taste and is inherently refreshing. It felt like a disservice to a beautiful product to cook with it, but it brings a floral, slight citrusy note with marries beautifully with rose water and the cardamom and as well as infusing the quince with deep flavour, it fills the kitchen with a delicious sweet, floral aroma.

The Kentish cobnuts sprinkled on top bring a creamy, crunch with a hint of hazelnut. I’ve used Mascarpone as a base, but a light coconut yoghurt would work really well here too.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 quince, peeled and quartered
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 bottles Gosnells London Mead
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, washed
  • 70g sugar (I used molasses sugar)
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • 1 tub mascarpone cream
  • 100g of cobnuts (or hazelnuts if you can’t get them)

Take a vegetable peeler and peel strips of rind from the lemon, taking care not to get any of the bitter pith. Place the Mead, rose water, cardamom, lemon peel and sugar into a pan and slowly bring to the boil. Meanwhile, peel, quarter and core the quince. When the poaching liquid has come to a boil, turn down to a simmer and add the quince. Cook for 50 – 60 minutes until tender.

Heat the oven to 200 degree centigrade and place the cobnuts on a tray to toast. This will take about 3 – 5 minutes.

On a plate or in a bowl, spoon a dollop of mascarpone. Top with pieces of quince, sprinkle with cobnuts and drizzle with some of the poaching liquid. Add some dried rose petals for a final flourish.