Quince is a yellow fruit that looks like a cross between an apple and a pear. It is high in pectin and was typically used in jam and jelly making. It’s too tart and hard to eat on its own but cooked it turns sweet with a slight floral taste. My mom used to have a quince bush in our back yard which she used when it came time to make her jellies. Jam and jelly making aside, quince paste is a treat you won’t want to pass up. There are a couple of ways to prepare the quince; place whole in the oven and roast (like I did) or cut up and boiled. Either method works but boiled means an additional step using the oven…if I can avoid more work and get a good result, I’ll always pick the shortcut.
Mr. S and I were first introduced to quince paste when we lived in Singapore. Friends of ours, Chris and Letty, invited us over for dinner one evening and for a snack they served quince paste with manchego cheese on a cracker. I was keen to try this ruby-pink jelly. Letty, my Spanish amiga, said it is served with well-cured cheeses such as manchego, parmesan, blue cheese. The combination was pure pleasure to my taste buds!
makes 2 cups
Preheat oven to 350f (180c).
Wash and dry each quince and place in a roasting dish. Cover with tin foil and bake 2 hours or until soft to touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to peel and core out seeds. Roughly chop quince flesh and place in a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth and then measure the amount of quince flesh. This will let you know how much sugar is needed (i.e. 2 cups of puréed quince: 2 cups of sugar). Place purée and sugar in a large pot over high heat and boil, stirring continuously. Lower heat to medium and continue to stir with a spoon for 40 minutes until quince beings to pull away from sides of
Place purée and sugar in a large pot over high heat and boil, stirring continuously. When the sugar has dissolved, lower heat to medium and continue to stir with a spoon for 40 minutes until quince beings to pull away from sides of pot. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place in a container with a lid and refrigerate. This will keep in the fridge for several months. When ready to serve, slice up pears or apples and top with cheese and quince paste. Use your favorite cracker and spread the paste over and top with your favorite aged cheese.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Quince paste can also be used the same way you would for marmalade. Enjoy!