Baked Quinces in Cypriot Sweet Wine / Κυδώνια Στο Φούρνο Με Κουμανταρία

Quinces are known as the fruit of love! An orchard fruit, related to apples and pears, they have a high pectin content which makes them ideal for jams and Greek glyko (spoon fruit).
When buying quinces/kythonia, select ones that are fragrant, heavy and ripe, with a yellow (not green) deep golden skin.
Kythonia and Commandaria, a red sweet dessert wine, is a great pairing. Made within the Commandaria region of Cyprus, on the foothills of the Troodos Mountains, the ancient fortified wine, described in 800 BC by the Greek poet Hesiod as a popular tipple with the ancient Greeks, was much later also known as The Cypriot Manna.

4 large ripe quinces
350g (12oz) soft brown sugar
2 wine glasses Commandaria, Mavrodaphne, Marsala or Madeira Wine
½ glass Cypriot brandy or any brandy
1½ -2 glasses water
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
8 cloves
Zest and juice of an orange

Preheat the oven to 190c / 375f / gas mark 5. Place sugar, wine, water, orange zest and juice,
cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves in a pan and bring to the boil until the sugar dissolves, simmer for 5 minutes.
Wipe quinces, halve and core them, and place cut side up in an ovenproof dish that is just large enough to contain them. Pour the hot wine syrup over them, cover and bake for 1½ hours, basting a couple of times with the syrup.
Uncover after 1½ hours, then bake them for a further ½ hour or until they have softened and are fork-tender.
Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice-cream, cream or Greek yoghurt and their aromatic and flavoursome syrup.

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