Quince paste can easily be made at home, it just requires a strong stirring arm!
Several times over the past few months we have visited our local farmer for boxes of apricots, peaches, and apples. Each time we drove onto the farm, I kept my eye on a fairly small, unassuming tree perched on the edge of the apple orchard – a quince tree.
Quinces are an old old fruit similar to an apple. Just don’t try to bite into one, they are extremely hard and need to be cooked before eating. They have a wonderful smell that is somewhere between an apple and a pear. I am sure that dried they would make a great potpourri, if you can bear to not cook with them that is.
Anyway, getting back to “my” watched over tree – the quinces weren’t ripe before I went on vacation and I was afraid they would be sold out by the time I got back. But, as luck would have it, there were plenty of quinces still available.
This was my first foray into cooking with quinces myself. What I learned is this:
- Quinces are easy to peel but their interior is a very strange texture. They are quite hard and difficult to core, but not unduly so.
- Cooked quinces are a beautiful yellow color, until they turn a beautiful orange color!
- It took longer to turn that beautiful orange color than I expected.
- It didn’t take as long to make the paste as I expected though.
- Quince is not sweet but is quite rich. Serve the paste thinly sliced with a slice of cheese like they do in Spain.
- 2-3 large quinces
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup honey
- Peel, core, and chop the quinces.
- Place chopped quince in a pot and cover with water. Add lemon juice.
- Cook over medium heat until quince is soft.
- Transfer to a food processor or use an immersion blender to puree the fruit. You should have about 2 cups of puree.
- Return puree to the cooking pot. Add honey and sugar and stir to combine.
- Simmer mixture over low to medium-low heat until mixture thickens, stirring often to prevent scorching.
- Continue cooking and stirring until the paste becomes the texture of a jelly candy. It will seem stretchy and the mixture will become a beautiful orange color.
- Pour into a greased pan and let cool. I used an 8 x 8 inch pan, but you could easily use a larger or smaller pan.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.