The season for quince is short. It appears at my produce market for a brief period in the fall. Fortunately a girlfriend called this to my attention and declared Saturday afternoon our Quincerama. We met at my house with large bags of quince, Meyer lemons, and sugar. Our goal was to make as many quince products as possible.
We started with sliced quince poached in vanilla syrup. We added peeled sliced fruit to a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) that had been simmering with a vanilla bean.
When we ladled the mixture into jars, the fruit was still fairly pale in color. But look at it after 30 minutes in a hot water bath!
We'll be eating this over vanilla ice cream, mixing it into apple pie filling (a traditional use for it since the flavor is compatible and the high pectin gives the filling some body), and stirring it into hot oatmeal.
While this was going on, I had quinces roasting in the oven for my quince paste, a traditional accompaniment for the Spanish cheese Manchego. I halved the fruit and placed in cut-side down in a roasting pan with about an inch of water. I baked at 350 degrees for a couple of hours.
The pulp then takes a long trip through the food processor (the hardest workout mine has had in ages) and is combined with an equal amount of sugar, a little fresh lemon juice, a cinnamon stick, and some rose geranium.
Quince paste is usually formed into a loaf pan or terrine to cool and is then served in thin slices. But I thought it would be fun to use some butter molds to make little shapes.
I also used a copper mold for some.
To store these, I cut out rounds of waxed paper onto which I had traced the outside of a plastic container. I then stacked the little shapes in layers. They'll keep in a cool place, unrefrigerated for several months.
4 medium quinces (about 2 pounds)
1 /4 to 1/2 cups water
2 to 3 cups sugar
3 tablespoons fresh
1 stick cinnamon
1 sprig fresh rose geranium (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray terrine or molds with canola spray.
Scrub quinces to remove fuzz. Slice in two length-wise and place cut-side down in roasting pan. Fill pan with about an inch of water. Place in oven and roast until and knife goes in easily and skins start to brown (about two hours).
When quinces are cool enough to handle, peel, core, and quarter. Place in food processor and puree, adding water as necessary. Measure puree and place in a heavy saucepan. Add to saucepan equivalent amount of sugar. Add cinnamon stick and rose geranium.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and beginsto pull away from the sides of the pan, about 25 minutes.
Pour puree into terrine or molds, smoothing off top with offset knife. Cool until set, about 4 hours.
Run a thin knife around sides of terrine or molds to release quince paste. Quince paste keeps wrapped and chilled about three months.