sharing recipes from one generation to the next
Quinces have made a serious comeback in Melbourne. Once scorned as impossibly hard and gritty, quinces are now commanding a high price at the local Farmers Markets as aficionados get what they can, for the quince season is very short and supply limited.
This ugly duckling fruit needs TLC and time to come to their full potential. My Mum used to stew quinces much as she would apples. How I loathed that gritty compote!!
It was not until I came across quince paste on a cheese platter many years later that I realized that there was a lot more to this ugly fruit. Making quince paste is a tedious task, a job I tackled once many years ago, only once! I discovered in the process though that with long slow cooking, quinces turn a deep ruby red and the flesh turns buttery in texture, all grittiness disappears.
A wedge of ruby red quince served with sharp cheese is sublime. Serve slow poached quince as a simple compote with thick natural yoghurt or bake the poached quince into a sponge topped pudding, upside down cake or crumble.
The unique heady perfume of quinces is unsurpassable. Grab them while you can!
1.5 litres water
Juice of 1 large lemon
6 large quinces
Preheat the oven to 140C.
Make a syrup with the sugar, water and lemon juice in a large lidded cast iron casserole dish.
Wash the woolly down off the quinces.
Peel and core and trim the fruit and cut into eighths. Put the fruit into the syrup immediately to prevent it oxidizing.
Bring the syrup with the fruit in it to the boil, then cover the fruit tightly with a piece of baking paper to prevent the top surfaces drying out.
Immediately transfer the casserole dish to the oven and bake for 6 hours.
Check the level of the liquid from time to time and add boiling water if necessary. The fruit must remain submerged.
Allow the ruby red quince segments to cool in the the syrup.
Store in the fridge or freeze for later use.
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Yes, quince season, I have also come to adore this fruit, luckily our local green grocer has plenty at the moment. Jam and stewed quince here I come! 😀
One of my favourite fruits! I’m having to rely on my stash of poached quinces in the freezer at the moment. The trees are all out in blossom on this side of the world and I’m already looking forward in anticipation to autumn when they deliver their bounty. The blossoms though are very pretty to look at – almost like a blush pink rose bud when they first appear.
Yes, quinces can be enjoyed in so many ways. Are the flowers fragrant like the fruit?
They have a beautiful delicate perfume and are certainly a favourite of the bees in the orchard! 🙂
I made quince jam and jelly last year for the first but failed to get the ruby red color. Admittedly, the recipe I followed was relatively easy compared to the one you’ve shared. I should probably give yours a try this Fall. Though I liked the flavor of mine, I want that ruby color!
Once the quinces have reached the stage where they have that gorgeous jewel like colour, they just melt in your mouth. I never make jam or jelly with them just lazy I guess. Only once did I make membrillate to serve with cheese, now that was an arduous task!
I think we can all thank Maggie Beer for opening our eyes to quinces. I think my first taste of quince was her paste. I haven’t looked back.
Maggie B is quite a woman don’t you think. It really was a quince paste enterprise, from memory based on Jane Grigson that bought me to long slow oven poached quinces
Sadly, I’ve never even seen one!
Keeps your eye out in the fall Mimi, quinces will make their way to your part of the world eventually. I think you’d really like them
One of my favourite fruits! My tree is just about to bloom – can’t wait. This is exactly how an Istanbul Greek friend cooks them. I think it is a Turkish method, but don’t know for sure. I generally poach them on top of the stove, but they never get this deep a colour. They are beautiful!
Thank you they ARE not only beautiful, they taste wonderful. They really need to attention while they poach slowly in the oven. Once you harvest your crop, try this method just once, you’ll be hooked!
I’ve been making quince paste for years now. Ever since I tasted a batch my mother-in-law made I can’t get enough of it. I love quince cooked any which way. Will try this.
I found the whole mouli/drying procedure a pain, it was a once only exercise for me, unless of course you have some tips and tricks to share. Enjoy!
It can be hit or miss. Even after many batches. I cook it for hours in a wide saucepan until very dark and almost dry then spread into a baking paper lined baking dish and into a very low oven for a few hours to finish off.
If I don’t get paste then I get jars of Quince jam. Still good
Thanks! I should revisit quince paste while they are still in season
I love quinces cooked this way too- nice dark red. I am about to receive a big bag full from friends this evening. They are selling their house and the quince tree is laden. My young quince tree had lots of babies this year but the birds got them all- meaning they pecked them and spat them on the ground. BTW, there is a regular supply of quinces from now through till winter at an old market in Brunswick- they are usually $2.99 a kilo. They are always there- the Greeks love them too.
Since I wrote this post I’ve been seeing quinces everywhere, and cheap too. Everything old is new again…. Damn birds! Is there some way you can protect your quince crop in the future?
Yes, but since we moved to this new place, we have planted fifty fruit trees. My god, I thought the quince would be safe. Netting is essential as we have lots of cockatoos, king parrots ( who only come in for a chat) rosellas and so on.
Yum, I love slow roasted quinces!
They are so delicious! Xx