“They dined on mince and slices of quince, which they ate with a runcible spoon”
Have you ever wondered “what is a runcible spoon?” I have searched for them at flea markets and estate sales for years, but to no avail.
With a quick google search, I found out that the word, “runcible” was made up by Edward Lear, the author of the beloved poem The Owl and the Pussycat, and a leader and major contributor to the “nonsense literature movement”.
Given all of that, I must tell you that a jar filled with “Slices of Quince in Vanilla Syrup”, is a seriously seductive and delicious affair. This syrup and these slices, served over Greek yogurt, ice cream, in a tart or just straight up, make a dreamy dessert which will take you through the long cold winter with ease and enjoyment. Also, these jars make splendid hostess gifts.
This recipe is adapted from a beautiful book I love on “preserving seasonal flavors” called The Glass Pantry. The book is available from Amazon.com.
yield: about 4 pints
6 quinces (about 3 pounds)
4 cups granulated sugar
4 cups water
1 vanilla bean, about 8 inches long, split down the center
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 strips grapefruit peel (just the colored part)
Peel and core the quinces and carefully remove and discard the seeds. A melon baller makes it east to remove the core of the quince, use a sharp paring knife to remove the stem.
Cut the fruits lengthwise into slices 1/2 inch thick. Set aside.
Combine the sugar, water, vanilla bean, lemon juice and grapefruit zest in a stainless-steel or other non-reactive saucepan large enough to hold the quince eventually. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and continue to boil, stirring often, until a light-to-medium-thick syrup forms, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the quince slices. Poach the fruits until just barely tender when pierced with the tines of a fork, about 15 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending upon the maturity of the fruits.
Using a slotted spoon, tightly pack the quince slices into sterilized, dry jars with sealable lids.
Ladle in the hot syrup to within 1/2 inch of the rims. Using a damp cloth, wipe the rims clean.
Cover with the lids and follow manufacturers instructions for sealing. I used these Le Parfait jars and sealed them in a 40 minute hot-water bath.
Remove the jars and let them cool for at least 12 hours overnight. Check the lids to make sure the seal is complete.
Store the sealed jars in a cool, dark place The quince slices will keep for up to 1 year. Once opened, keep them refrigerated. Store any jar lacking a good seal in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
“….and then hand in hand, at the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the moon. The moon, the moon, they danced by the light of the moon.”