Quince feast: How to make delicious quince treats
Quince season is here! Do you grow your own quinces or do you have a kind supplier? Let’s see what to do with them. Although they cannot be eaten raw, there are many possibilities to process and enjoy them all year round. You can make liquid and solid quince treats for children and adults or original edible gifts. To wash and core quince is a bloody job, but it’s worth it!
I love their intense aroma, but that’s not the only reason why it’s my favorite fruit. It reminds me very much of the Brazilian guavas. You can make a quince cheese — a firm paste (in Spanish dulce de membrillo), which tastes very similar to brazilian guava paste — goiabada. When you cut the quince cheese into small pieces and cover them in a shredded coconut, ground nuts or sugar, you will make delicious quince sweets. Or you can serve thin slices of quince cheese with soft or hard cheese. Quince cheese can also be used as a sweet base for quince cheesecake.
The quince extract adds a great flavor to cakes, and some of us can drink it as a liqueur. The inspiration for these recipes comes from Food4fun and my gastronomic bible Larousse Gastronomique. Thank you both!
Ingredients (app. 700 ml)
Preparation: 20 minutes + 8 months
- 1 quince (app. 400 g)
- 70 g sugar or honey
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp cardamom seeds
- 650–700 ml vodka spirit
Wash quinces well and grate them. Dry roast the spice on the pan (you can skip this step), put it into the clean glass jar and add layers of the grated quince and sugar (honey). Fill the jar, cover it and let it rest until the next day, when it releases its juices.
The following day add vodka to the jar and stir well. Note the date when you make the quince extract and put the covered jar in a cool dark place. Shake occasionally to allow the flavours to combine and develop. After 8 weeks or more, strain through a soft sieve or cloth and store the liqueur in a dark bottle in a cool place. Shake occasionally, but resist the temptation to taste.
After a six months, the extract is ready, but the longer you wait, the better it tastes.
Store in a cool place.
Quince jam, cheese and sweets
Preparation (quince jam): 30 minutes + 1 hour (cooking) + 20 minutes (sterilization)
Preparation (quince cheese and sweets): 30 minutes + 2–3 hours (cooking) + few days (drying)
- 1 kg quinces
- 4 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- cardamom/clove/vanilla — optional
- cane sugar
- oil to grease the form
- whole walnuts
- sugar, shredded coconut, ground nuts to cover the sweets
The process of preparation of the quince jam, sweets and cheese is very much the same, so you can make three different quince treats from one batch.
Wash quinces thoroughly, core them, cut into medium sized pieces and put in a pot. Add a little water, lemon juice, spices, and cook on a mild fire until it softened. Stir occasionally.
Strain the cooked mixture through a sieve and weight the quince pureé. Add 100–150 g of cane sugar to every 500 g of quince purée. Other recipes mention up to 400 grams of sugar, but it is pretty much for me. The jam, cheese and sweets are sweet enough even when you add “only” 100–150 g of sugar. Cook the quince pureé with sugar on a mild fire and stir occasionally.
And here’s the end of the jam story. If the mixture is thick enough, pour the cooked jam into clean glass jars, cover with lid and sterilize. Thickness of jam can be proved by putting a little jam on the cold plate, wait for a while, and if it’s thick after a while, the jam is done. If it’s still thin, cook it until it thickened.
Preparing quince cheese and candies is more time consuming. The mixture must be thicker than the jam. Make a way in a pot with wooden spoon and when it holds the shape, the cheese is dense enough. The longer the pureé is cooked, the richer color it gains. You will see the transformation of the color from the sand to the bordo. If the quince cheese mixture is ready, pour it over an oil-greased form. Let it cool and dry for at least 1 day.
Carefully remove the cheese from the form the following day. If it’s not possible the cheese is not dry sufficiently, so let it dry for additional 1–2 days. Cover the form with a clean cloth to prevent it from a dirt. After 2 days, remove the cheese from the form, cut it into even pieces, and allow it to dry for a few more days. Spread the pieces of cheese on baking paper. Occasionally turn the pieces on the other sides and allow it to dry from all sides. If necessary change the baking paper. After a few days wrap the quince cheese pieces in the baking paper and store it in a cool dry place.
Cut the pieces of quice cheese into small cubes and coat each piece in sugar, shredded coconut or ground nuts. We like the coconut version the most. There is already too much sugar, so if you want to coat it in sugar, I recommend to gently dip the quince sweet into lemon juice in a first place.
If you have small molds, you can make candies of different shapes. Grease the molds gently with oil, pour over the quince mixture and put in the nuts. Let it rest until the candies can be removed from molds.
Coat it in sugar, coconut, ground nuts or cocoa powder – but it is not necessary.
Enjoy your quince adventures!