Cut out the cores and stems from your pears, leaving the skins on, cut them into cubes and toss them into a slow cooker with about 1/4 cup of water.
Bring the mixture up to a simmer, then leave it on the slow-cook setting for an hour or so, until the fruit is soft enough to mash with a spatula. With pears alone this will take little time, but quince are tougher customers.
Once the fruit is soft, puree it with an immersion blender. Add 1/2 cup of sugar, brown if you like, plus some spices: 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half; 1 star anise pod; 1/4 tsp ground ginger; a couple of cloves.
Leave it on the slow-cook setting for several hours. If you start this the night before, it'll be ready for your morning oatmeal. (Remove the whole spices before serving.)
Alternatively, if you leave this to cook while you're at work, you can clean out the pot and use it to cook the oatmeal that night. Just add 1 cup of steel-cut oats, 4 cups of water and a pinch of salt to the slow cooker and start it before you go to bed. You'll be rewarded with smooth, creamy oatmeal when you awake.
Recipe courtesy of Sean Timberlake