This is what happens when you leave a quince unattended. I hate to admonish a fruit so early in the morning, but really, it's been quite out of hand.
I'd been watching it for nearly a month, when its bedfellows had disappeared rather suddenly into the steam pot, and finally come to rest in a batch of fruit leather. It had been softening, slowly, but no where near the pace of, say, an apple or a pear.
I had neglected it, certainly, but I hardly expected the redress I received this morning. I had tiptoed, sleepy eyed, into the kitchen in search of breakfast. I'd seen the quince, complacent, and halved it face down in a pan to poach. With the stove at a simmer and an inch or so of water in the pot, I hurried up to the shower to clean up for the day. By the time I returned, a chaotic hiss had broken loose. The water was gone, the quince black, and the pot bottom scorched beyond repair.
It seemed so personal, somehow, like the quince had known my plan and sat eager in rebellion. Still, I managed to quell my disappointment, scraped the burnt skin and seeds from the fruit's surface, and mashed the remaining flesh with a bit of water and sugar. I pinched in nutmeg and cinnamon, set it back on the stove, and watched carefully over my unruly charge.
By the time the toast was hot, fruit and spice had softened into a thick paste. With a bit of butter and spread like jam, it turned out far too good for rebuke.
Poach 1 quince until soft (taking care to continue adding water). Remove skin and core. Mash with 1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture thickens into a paste the consistency of apple or pumpkin butter. This makes enough spread to serve four on breakfast toast.