Quince – Not just jelly

Quince-500x500

Not just for jelly although a quince jelly, cheese or fruit leather is a match made in heaven with cheese.

Our quinces are from Ringden Farm – on the Kent/Sussex border, a family run farm where they also grow fine orchards of apples and pears.

Quince isn’t something that’s regularly cooked these days and lots of people ask us how to use it.  This article from Kitchn is a great cover-all for cooking and some unusual sweet and savoury ways to use aromatic fruit.  The recipe for us to try this week is the Quince Tarte Tatin, which does look especially delicious.

quincetartetatin

The basic cooking recipe is given in US Imperial so here are the metric conversion instructions:

How To Cook Quince

Yields about 1kg fruit plus approx 400ml of syrup

What You Need

Ingredients
1kg quince (about 3 large)
100g sugar
85g honey (or another 100g sugar)
Optional flavourings: Large strip of lemon or orange peel, halved vanilla bean, star anise, whole cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, fresh ginger cut into coins

Equipment
Peeler
Cutting board
Large chef’s knife
Small paring knife
3-quart saucepan
Wooden spoon
Parchment paper or lid
Slotted spoon

Instructions

  1. Weigh the quince: This basic formula can easily be doubled or tripled or more, depending on how much fruit you have. These proportions are for 1kg.
  2. Peel the quince: The quince can be peeled easily using a regular vegetable peeler.
  3. Cut the quince in half: Cut the fruit in half with a large, sharp chef’s knife. Be sure your cutting board is secure; the fruit is very tough and spongy and will be hard to cut.
  4. Slice into quarters and cut away the core: Slice each fruit into quarters, then use your chef’s knife to cut the core and seeds away. Again, this is tough, so be careful; the middle of a quince is woody and hard to cut.
  5. Slice off any wormy bits: Quince are not a widely-grown commercial crop, and much locally-grown fruit will be organic, as mine were. Expect to see some veins or spots that need to be cut away. Use a small, sharp paring knife to cut away anything that seems unappetizing.
  6. Place cut quince into a bowl of water: As you finish with each quince quarter, place in a large bowl of water to prevent browning.
  7. Make the poaching liquid and add any flavorings: Mix together 4 cups water, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup honey in a 3-quart (or larger) saucepan. Add any flavorings you like; I usually add a vanilla bean or, as here, star anise and whole cloves. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  8. Add the quince and cover with a parchment “lid”: Slip the quince into the liquid and cover with a parchment “lid,” made by cutting a round piece of parchment just large enough to cover the pan (see tips for this here). If you don’t have parchment you can cover the pan loosely with a lid instead. The goal is to keep most of the liquid from evaporating while cooking the quince, but to still let it reduce a little bit into a sweet syrup. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cover with the parchment or a lid.
  9. Simmer for 40 to 50 minutes: Cook at a bare simmer for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the quince is turning pink and is tender.
  10. Refrigerate in the poaching liquid: When the quince is pink and tender, turn off the heat and either strain and use right away, or refrigerate the quince in the poaching liquid for up to 7 days.

Recipe Notes

  • Freezing: The quince can also be frozen, with its liquid or without.
  • The Syrup: Don’t throw out that beautiful liquid! It’s a wonderful byproduct of cooking quince. You can stir it into drinks or Champagne, or reduce it further and drizzle it over cakes or ice cream.
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Quince – Not just jelly

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