Quince gels easily, because it’s very high in pectin. It is sweetened with sugar, and can be flavoured with lemon juice, cinnamon and apple.
It is sold in tubs and slabs.
It is good with cheeses such as cheddar or manchego, parmesan shavings, blue cheese, or Stracchino. It is also good with air-dried hams.
When melted with a small amount of water, it can be used as a glaze for roasted meats. Small squares of it can be tossed in cinnamon sugar or rolled in melted chocolate and served with coffee.
It is particularly popular in Portugal, and in Spanish-speaking countries, and in the south of France.
Slice thinly to serve.
4 ½ pounds (2 kg) quinces
1 ¾ cups (14 oz / 400ml) water
½ lemon, juiced
Wash the quinces, core them and quarter them. Put the quartered fruit in a saucepan as you go, then when they’re all done, weigh them, make note of the weight, then put them back in the saucepan with the water, bring to a boil on the stove, then lower to a simmer. Purée the fruit in a blender, put it back in the saucepan along with a quantity of white sugar equal to the weight of the fruit that you made a note of at the start. Simmer until it thickens, stirring constantly. It will become a dark red as it cooks, and thicken so much that the spoon can almost stand up in it. Spread out in a loaf pan lined with waxed or greaseproof paper, and let stand overnight, or spoon it into a jar or tub. Don’t dawdle about getting it out of the pan, or it will set there on you.
Store at a coolish room temperature. Don’t refrigerate or it will crystallize. If it does crystallize, zap on low heat in microwave for 1 minute.
New Englanders used to make Quince Paste in the 1700s.