Thursday, 16 May 2013

Glorious Quinces and Making Quince Paste

I think Quinces are the most glorious fruit.
Admittedly they look like a lumpy misshapen pear with peach fuzz all over them.  The can also be quite astringent so really have to be cooked to be enjoyed.  But what I love most about them is the smell.  If you have never smelt quinces then I would describe the smell as a sweet spicy and musky smell.  Imagine pears poached in a spiced syrup and you get the idea.  Historically quinces were used to fragrance rooms (as well as all the other uses) and if you place a bowl of them in a closed room for the day you come back to a spicy scent that you can not quite identify until you remember the quinces.
Just like their cousins apples and pears, quinces are in season during Autumn.  I asked my green grocer to order some in for me and they were only $3.99kg.  Quinces store well so I ordered a few kilos.  I use quinces in a few different ways.  I use them in tagines when cooking Middle Eastern and North African dishes, in deserts and I also like to make a big batch of quince paste to last the next 12 months.

Quince paste is really quite easy to make and in comparison to buying it it is also very cheap.  Quince paste keeps well so you can easily make a years supply when they are in season.  Quince paste is also one of those thing that is always appreciated as a gift especially by cheese lovers.  You need to set aside a day where you can make this as it cooks long and slow.

Quince Paste

2 kg Quinces
1.2 kg Sugar
Juice of 2 Lemons
2 Vanilla Pods

Wash the fur off the quinces, peel and discard the skin.  Quater them and cut out the hard cores placing the cores in a large saucepan with 300 gms of sugar and 2 litres of water.  Bring the cores to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 2 hours.
Coring the fruit
The pot with the cores

In another saucepan add all the flesh from the fruit with the remaining sugar, vanilla pods, lemon juice and 3 litres of water.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours or until the fruit is soft and pink.  Then discard the vanilla pods.
Cooking the flesh
During cooking the fruit will turn pink
Remove the soft fruit from the liquid and set the fruit aside.  Reduce the liquid over a medium heat until you have a very thick syrup but do not reduce to a caramel.
Meanwhile remove the cores from their liquid and discard the cores.  This liquid is full of pectin and also needs to be reduced to a thick syrup
The now pink quince flesh

Once both liquids have been reduced they need to be tipped into one pot.  Tip the cooked fruit back into the syrup and use a hand blender to blend to a smooth purée   Return to the heat and stir occasionally until the mix is very thick.  The aim is to remove as much moisture as possible.
Heat your oven to 200 degrees then once the mix is very thick spread out on an oven tray lined with baking paper or any heat proof dishes.  Silicone bake ware is great for this.  Place your tray/s in the oven and turn off the heat.  Leave in the oven until it is completely cool.  Once cool slice into portions and store in a sealed container in the fridge.
I think I made about $100 worth of quince paste for less than $10.

What are your your thought on quinces?
Do you make your own quince paste.


  1. One of my neighbours makes quince jam for my kids they lurve it

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this Fiona...we have quince trees growing everywhere through our paddock at the moment and I was trying to think of what to do with them as I have only ever had quince jam and cheese. Will definitely give your recipe a try...thanks so much!

  3. We love quinces in this house! I just posted this week about quinces as a dessert with a honey and butter sauce. It's sooo yummy! The thing I like most about cooking them is the beautiful aroma that fills the house. I made a beautiful quince paste last year but left it in the cupboard. Bad move. It went mouldy and I was very disappointed. I'll definitely be using the fridge next time!

  4. I love Quince paste and it is so expensive at the supermarket. I also recently found a recipe that you did in the slow cooker alleviating all the standing around but I'll have to see if I can find who's blog that was on. Now I remembered it was Christine at Slow Living Essentials.

    It must be exciting planning your future over in NZ and great having a retired architect on hand. Go through the series of "Grand Designs" on ABC to see if you can find an episode where they made a straw bail house...I'm sure I've seen a few that might give you some useful tips and sometimes the show goes back 3-4 years later to see how the house is and how the people are living in it, whether they would have changed anything about the design. It's worth a look.

    Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia


I'd love to hear your thoughts...
Thanks for taking the time to comment