Quinces poached in spiced wine with chestnut and chocolate mousse

Quinces poached in spiced wine with chestnut and chocolate mousse

William Meppem

In autumn quinces are a very strong focus of our menu in Melbourne, because of their unique flavour and texture. They are surprisingly good with chocolate, as are chestnuts which are plentiful at the same time of year. The flavours of the spiced wine are deep and comforting, and best enjoyed in large quantities served around the quince, almost as a soup.


Quantity Ingredient
2 1/2 litres shiraz or pinot noir
650g caster sugar
3 cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
2 small quinces, peeled, halved and woody cores removed with a melon baller
4 valencia oranges, zested and juiced
150g young ginger, very finely sliced
200ml malt whisky

Chestnut and chocolate mousse

Quantity Ingredient
150g good-quality dark chocolate
250ml pure cream
2 gelatine leaves
75ml brandy
2 eggs
40g sugar
150g sweetened chestnut purée


  1. The fruit must be poached and the mousse made the day before you want to serve this dessert.
  2. In a large saucepan boil the red wine, caster sugar and spices. Add the quinces, orange zest and juice, and ginger, and reduce to a low heat. Simmer slowly with a greaseproof paper circle and a small lid pressed on top – to keep the quinces immersed in the wine – and cook for about 2 hours, until the quinces are soft.
  3. Remove the quinces, increase the heat slightly and reduce the wine by half to a light syrup. Add the whisky, return the quinces to the pan and allow to cool in the syrup in the refrigerator overnight, for at least 6–8 hours.
  4. To make the mousse, gently melt the chocolate in a metal bowl over a bain marie. Whip the cream until soft peaks just form and leave at room temperature. Soak the gelatine in cold water for 2–3 minutes, then dissolve in 50 ml of warmed brandy.
  5. Once the chocolate has melted, set aside. In another metal bowl over the bain marie, whisk together the eggs and sugar with the remaining 25 ml of brandy, until thick and creamy. Remove from the heat and gradually fold in the chocolate. Add the dissolved gelatine, followed by the chestnut purée.
  6. Fold the whipped cream into the mousse mixture – it is important that the cream is at room temperature, otherwise it will separate when mixed with the chocolate. Pour this mixture into a shallow (about 2–3 cm deep) tray and tap any air out. Cover and refrigerate overnight, for at least 6–8 hours.
  7. To serve, remove the quinces from the cooking syrup and put each half into a serving bowl, allowing 1 half per person. Strain the syrup and reserve the spices for decoration.
  8. Spoon a generous amount of syrup over each piece of quince, then top with a scoop of mousse – use a warm ice-cream scoop to achieve perfect balls of mousse. Decorate with the reserved spices and serve.

Chef’s note

  • Packham pears will be equally satisfying poached in the spiced wine and are also delicious with chocolate.
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