IRONCLAD SLOW ROAST SPICED QUINCE with CARDAMON AND ORANGE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE and CRUSHED WASABI PEAS

If the best thing about Autumn is quince and the best thing about Easter is chocolate and you’re looking for the best thing to celebrate this long weekend then look no further!  

I think quince is the queen of Autumn fruits and should be destined for far more glamorous and lofty horizons than quince paste.  It never ceases to amaze me watching this ugly duckling of fruit transform into the most beautifully coloured and aromatic swan.

This panful of deliciousness combines sweet, sticky, soft and spicey quince with fragrant, bitter and velvety chocolate mousse and in a surprise twist she is crowned with a scattering of crunchy, salty and hot wasabi peas! An aromatic explosion of texture, flavour and colour.

And if you’ve never eaten roasted quince skin before. Now is the time to start.  

THE QUINCE

3 medium quinces
Juice of 1 lemon
½ whole orange
4 bay leaves
1 T fennel seeds
1 t black cardamon seeds
6 star anise
¾ c maple syrup
1 c rosé
¼ c white balsamic vinegar
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
½ c  sugar

THE MOUSSE

300g dark chocolate finely chopped (above 80%)
500ml cream
3 T maple syrup
1 t black cardamon seeds
Zest of one orange

TO SERVE

Mascarpone
¼ c wasabi peas coarsely crushed – make sure these have a good heat component.  

Method 

Firstly heat oven to 140°C.

Rub any furry bits off the outside of the quinces and cut in half, length wise. Squeeze lemon juice over the quinces to stop them going brown.

Arrange bay leaves and orange zest in the bottom of  your Ironclad Pan and place quinces cut side up on top.

Scatter the spices over and around the quinces.

Pour maple syrup, rosé, balsamic vinegar and orange juice over the top of the quinces and finish of with an even sprinkling of sugar.

Pop the halved orange in the middle of the pan with some extra zest on top. Look how pretty that looks!

Cut a round of baking paper slightly larger than the pan and place on top of the quinces, tucking it in down the sides of the pan.

Bake for 2 hours.

Turn quinces cut side down and bake for a further 2 hours covered with baking paper.

Now turn the quinces cut side up again and bake without the paper for a few more minutes. The quinces will have turned a heavenly deep pink and will be nestled in the most delicious sticky syrup.

While the quinces are still hot use a knife and a teaspoon to remove the core. (it’s easier to do this while they are still warm)

Drizzle the remaining syrup over the quinces and cool to room temperature, or just warm.  

THE MOUSSE

*** This mixture makes double what you need but is so good everyone will want double servings! Halve this mix if you don’t want to make more than you need for the dish.

Heat a heavy bottomed pan till smoking hot and dry roast the cardamon seeds till their aroma is released. About 30 secs.

***Do not use a non-stick Teflon coated pan. Heating these pans to high temperatures releases dangerous toxins into the environment and your body.

Pour in the cream and maple syrup and simmer with the orange zest for 1 minute.

Let this mixture infuse overnight in the fridge then strain.

If you are in a hurry and like a strongly flavoured mousse, skip the infusion step and pop the cream mixture into your nutri bullet and blend till it’s smooth with no hint of lumpy bits.  

Bring infused/blitzed cream mix to the boil. Turn off the heat, add the chopped chocolate, let sit for a minute or two till melted then stir till combined.  

Pour into a medium sized bowl and refrigerate for a couple of hours till set.

Using an electric beater whisk the mousse till it’s light and fluffy.  Don’t over whip! It will split and you’ll turn it all into chocolate butter.

*** If this does happen. Re melt the mixture, chill and whip it all up again! An easy fix.

 If you desire a firmer mousse, pop it in the fridge and chill a little longer.

TO ASSEMBLE

Spoon a large dollop of mousse into the centre of each quince.

Finish off with mascarpone and a sprinkling of wasabi peas and ENJOY!

If you are only serving 4 people. Refrigerate any left overs and serve sliced and cold the next day. The  flavour and texture will be even more intensely delicious than they were last night!

Happy Easter all.