QUINCE CHEESE, QUINCE JELLY & QUINCE JUICE | 1 batch of quince, 3 delicious recipes
I have Provencal roots – at least on my mother’s side of the family.
Come autumn, my French grandmother would fill the house with the wonderful smell of homemade quince cheese (Pâte de Coing). Although, I always think "cheese" is a weird word to use – quince candy would be more accurate.
The quince cheese was dried in the attic and then served as one of the traditional 13 desserts at Christmas. Luckily, my grandmother wrote all her recipes down in a little notebook – and since our quince tree spoiled us with an extra-generous harvest this year, I can revive the tradition.
And the best part? I realized how much you can get out of just one batch of quinces. It's super easy and fantastically delicious.
Namely, juice, jelly and cheese. So be daring and make a big batch – the amount of work is (almost) the same.
My "3 in 1" Quince Recipes
The first steps apply to all three recipes.
1. Take your quinces and, if necessary, rub off any white fuzz before quartering and then chopping them into large slices. You don't need to peel them or remove the cores because you want that extra flavour they provide.
2. Into a pan they go. It needs to be big enough for you to cover the quinces with water without boiling over.
3. Boil the quince pieces until they're tender. Depending on the variety and thickness, this can take between 45 and 60 minutes.
4. Pour the juice through a fine sieve and, super important, make sure to KEEP the quince slices.
From this point on, you have three options:
Quince cheese and juice
Quince cheese and jelly
Quince cheese, juice and jelly
1. If you've followed the steps above, you already have your quince juice. Take the fluid you drained from your quinces and store it in clean, sterilized bottles. It tastes great as a spritzer mixed with sparkling water! If it isn't sweet enough for you, you can stir in some honey, sugar or agave nectar. Small quantities can be stored in the fridge but they need to be used up within a few weeks. Larger quantities will last for up to a year, provided the juice has been pasteurized.
But honestly – it’s so delicious, we just demolished three bottles in 24 hours.
1. You can also make quince jelly from the juice. You’ll need jam sugar for this. Mix 900ml (30fl oz) of juice with 500g (18oz) of the jam sugar.
2. Bring to a boil and leave on the boil for three minutes, then pour into clean, sterilized glass jars.
Jam sugar can be slightly different from country to country so, if in doubt, follow the instructions on the packet.
QUINCE CHEESE/QUINCE CANDY
Full disclosure, quince cheese needs a little more TLC than the previous two. And you'll really feel it in your upper arm the next morning – there's a lot of stirring involved. But it's oh so worth it!
1. You'll need the pieces of quince left in your sieve to make the quince cheese. Take the pulp and remove the cores with your fingers (it’s much easier than cutting them out when raw).
2. Puree the quinces with a hand blender or in a liquidizer until you have a really fine mixture – it should look a little like apple sauce. Then weigh your mixture.
3. Pour into a large(!) saucepan and add an equal weight of sugar.
4. Bring to a boil at medium heat and, now comes the hard part: stir, stir, then stir some more. The second you stop, you'll see large bubbles forming in the mixture. When they burst, which doesn’t take long, your kitchen will be spattered in delightful fruit puree. It will also start sticking to the bottom of your saucepan in no time.
5. Eventually – and this could take a good 45 minutes, maybe longer – the mixture will start changing. You’ll know it’s ready when it’s thickened up and gotten significantly darker.
6. Spread onto a baking tray covered with parchment paper, it should be around 1cm (1/3 of an inch) thick.
7. Then either leave it somewhere warm to air-dry or put it in the oven at 100°C (210°F) for three to four hours. It should turn into a soft candy and feel dry to the touch.
8. Cut your quince cheese into diamonds or cubes or cut out little shapes using cookie cutters. Roll them in a little sugar and enjoy! Some people use ground coconuts or almonds but I prefer to keep things simple. Store them the same way you would with cookies: in tins with parchment paper between the individual layers.