Vanilla and quince custards

Thomasina Miers shares her rendition of a Mexican favourite a beautifully pink-tinged, creamy dessert
By Thomasina Miers
Vanilla and quince custards
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8-10
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 1 kg quince, about 3 or 4 fruit
  • 500 g sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 lemon, finely grated zest and juice
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 1-2 tbsp blanco or plata tequila
  • 8-10 scoops vanilla ice cream

Tips and Suggestions

Tequila plata is widely available there are many types and plata simply means white or un-aged.

Fruit custards are popular festive dishes in Mexico.
Here Thomasina is using quince because its very like a popular Mexican fruit called mamey, which is the same beautiful pink colour. Quince is eaten widely in Mexico, too, but more usually in the form of membrillo (quince paste).


1. Quarter the quinces and cut out their cores. If they are large, cut each wedge in half.

2. Put 2 litres of water into a large, heavy-based saucepan, add the sugar and stir gently over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.

3. Add the vanilla pod and lemon zest, then pop in the prepared quince. Cover tightly and simmer for at least 2 hours (sometimes you might need to cook the quince for as long as 3 hours), until the fruit has turned a deep pink colour. You may need to top up the pan with water and turn the fruit from time to time.

4. Once the quince is tender and deep pink, turn off the heat and leave to cool until lukewarm. Drain the fruit, reserving the poaching liquid, and put the quince in a bowl.

5. In a large clean saucepan, beat the egg yolks until smooth. Whisk in 400ml of the cooled poaching liquid, plus the cream, tequila and the juice of one lemon. Cut open the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into the custard. Taste the mixture you may need to add extra lemon juice to cut the sweetness of the custard.

6. Cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

7. To serve, spoon the custard onto a plate and top with the quince, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of the remaining bright pink poaching liquid.

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