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A WINTER DESSERT

BY RAYMOND BLANC OBE

Recipe

Poached Quince & Winter Fruit in Spiced Wine

With cloves, orange, vanilla and cinnamon, this winter dessert is bursting with festive flavour. Read on for the recipe from celebrated chef patron of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, A Belmond Hotel, Oxfordshire, Raymond Blanc OBE.




"Quince are a truly magnificent fruit.

In fact, I love them so much that I’ve planted four trees in my restaurant’s garden, one in front of each kitchen window. I find their beauty ravishing – delicate white flowers against a dark wintery backdrop, broad leaves and soft, downy fruit.

For me, making this dessert defines an exact moment in the season – the end of autumn and the beginning of winter – and it’s one I’ll prepare as soon as the first quince are ripe.

However, with its warm and spicy flavours it is also a lovely prelude to Christmas.

Don't be thrown off by the blackberries in the recipe. I know that they don’t grow in winter, but they freeze well, and I hope that you might have collected a few on long autumn walks in the brambles and frozen them to use throughout the winter. They’ll add a fabulous burst of juiciness to your crumbles, tarts and poached fruits."

– Raymond Blanc OBE, Chef patron at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons

Poached Quince festive recipe raymond blanc

  • DESSERT

Poached Quince & Winter Fruit in Spiced Wine

Preparation 20 mins

Cook 35 mins

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the red wine jus

  • 400ml red wine (see Chef’s note)
  • 400ml water
  • 2 tsp stevia powder or 100g caster sugar
  • ½ vanilla pod
  • 4 small cinnamon sticks
  • 2 black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 thin slices lemon
  • 2 thin slices orange

For the winter fruit

  • 2 quince, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 2 Cox’s Orange Pippin apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 2 very ripe Conference pears, peeled and quartered
  • A handful of frozen blackberries
  • 4 Agen prunes

Method

  • For the red wine jus, in a saucepan on a high heat, bring the red wine to the boil for 2 minutes. This will remove much of the alcohol. Then add the water and the remaining ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer.
  • To poach the fruit, first add the quince to the simmering jus and poach for around 25 minutes. Then add the apple and the pear and continue to simmer for 4 minutes. Take off the heat, add the blackberries and leave to cool to room temperature before adding the prunes. Strain a third of the liquor and freeze overnight. Transfer the poached fruit with the remaining jus to the fridge.
  • To serve, remove the frozen cooking liquor from the freezer and scrape with a fork to create beautiful flakes of perfumed ice. Arrange all the fruit, spices, red wine and cooking juices in a large dish or divide between four bowls. At the last moment, take a spoonful of the delicate flakes of spiced wine granita and serve on top of your dessert. You could also serve the granita in small cups from the freezer as a little pre-dessert.

Chef's note

  • My general rule about wine when cooking is not to use an expensive bottle. You are looking for a deep, rich-coloured Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Pinot Noir is too light. It is important that the liquid does not boil while poaching the fruits as the intensity of the heat will damage their delicate flesh.

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