Pronounced “kwins,” the quince is a small and rounded pome fruit grown on trees. Though it may look as delightfully sweet and juicy as an apple or pear, the quince in its raw form is rather tough, tannic and slightly sour at times. To enjoy all that this produce has to offer, it’s best when cooked, which is why it makes the perfect ingredient for fall cooking.
You’ve doubtless heard the story of how a golden apple was the catalyst for the Trojan War, but the golden apple may have actually been the region’s native quince fruit.
- History of Quince
- How to Buy Quince Fruit
- How to Cook Quince
- How to Eat Quince
- Health Benefits Of Quince Fruit
- 1. Anti-inflammatory Properties
- 2. Good For Weight Loss
- 3. Treats Ulcers
- 4. Treats Stomach Ailments
- 5. Antioxidant Benefits
- 6. Treats Nausea And Vomiting
- 7. Antiviral Properties
- 8. Lowers Blood Pressure
- 9. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
- 10. Anticancer Properties
- 11. Relieves Stress
- 12. Treats Liver And Eye Diseases
- 14. Benefits Of Quince Seeds And Oil
- 15. Other Benefits
- Quinces: Fan facts and recipes
- History of quinces: which are their origins and where they come from?
- Legends about quinces, worshipped by the ancient cultures
- How do we eat quinces nowadays?
- Recipes with quinces
- Fun facts about quinces
- Quince and panettone pudding
- Poached quince, gorgonzola cream
- Here’s how to eat a quince while the fruit’s in season
- Quince paste
- Poached quince cheesecake
History of Quince
The quince’s origins are in the Caucasus – the region between the Caspian and Black seas – as well as in northern Persia, according to The Splendid Table. It has even been considered the catalyst of the Trojan War, as told by Greek legend. From there, the usefulness of the quince in cooking spread to medieval banquet halls and beyond. Commonly enjoyed in the tropical regions of Latin America and Mexico today, the quince has maintained its popularity and found its way into the western culture of food and cooking.
The quince is a very nutritious fruit that also has a very low calorie density. One 100-gram quince fruit contains just 57 calories, according to the USDA National Nutrient database. It’s also a great source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The fruit contains tannins including catechin and epicatechin and has a very high concentration of vitamin C. Quince is also a good source of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and copper.
With a very low calorie density, quince can be enjoyed as part of a healthy eating plan. But quince is not farmed in great quantities, so if you stumble across this secret gem of fall fruits, don’t pass it by.
How to Buy Quince Fruit
In the southern states such as Florida, it’s just about that time of year that the quince starts to come out. Often overlooked among the abundance of colorful common produce, the quince is not a very well-known fruit of the fall season. In fact, many people may not know how to buy quince fruit. When you do happen to stumble upon this secret gem of a fruit however, it’s the perfect time to try something new, explained Pritikin’s Chef Anthony Stewart. The quince is not farmed in great quantities. Thus, it won’t be on your everyday healthy grocery list but instead it’s what he likes to call, a “once a year treat.”
“Most people see it and will pass it or mistake it for something else,” said Chef Anthony. “However, it’s great for people who enjoy experimenting with food.”
Finely chopped quince fruit with a little squeeze of lime or lemon juice is great on a salad. However raw quince can be a little tough, so many people prefer the tender pinkish flesh of cooked quince.
The quince often looks similar to a big plum in shape, with a light green color. When it is ripe and ready to eat, it reaches a bright yellow hue with little specks of brown. In addition to its appearance, its fragrant fruity aroma will certainly get your attention.
How to Cook Quince
Most people will tell you that they prefer the soft flesh of a cooked quince – which turns from yellow to soft pink – rather than the fruit in its raw form. Over time however, taste buds will adapt and quince fruit becomes enjoyable both ways.
“Initially, the flavor profile of quince doesn’t register right away as very exciting,” explained Chef Anthony. “The texture does take a bit of getting used to – between a pear and an Asian pear – it’s slightly firm.”
Because quince fruit is full of pectin, it is most often found as a jam, jelly, marmalade or compote, according to the Organic Authority. It can also be roasted in the oven and served with a fall-inspired meal or, similar to apples and pears, is great when baked in pies, tarts and muffins.
Quince fruit can also be diced and cooked down with apple juice concentrate until it becomes a sweet and savory puree. This can then be used in a variety of ways, including over your morning oats as a substitute to brown sugar and calorie dense raisins.
Simple Cooked Quince Recipe
To prepare and cook quince, follow these instructions:
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Save the skin if you are making any sort of jelly, according to The Kitchen.
- Carefully cut each quince in half with a sharp chef’s knife – this may be a little difficult because of its toughness.
- Cut each fruit into quarters and then cut the core and seeds away.
- Remove any mealy spots.
- After slicing, place each piece of fruit in a bowl of water to prevent browning.
- Pour water into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Add quince and simmer for about 40 to 50 minutes, until pink and tender.
- Enjoy as you please!
How to Eat Quince
“I like it as is, but it’s great on salads,” said Chef Anthony. “Simply wash it, chop it up and squeeze a little lime or lemon juice on it. Put it over a bed of mixed greens with cilantro and it’s just fabulous.”
Another way Chef Anthony likes to use the quince in the kitchen is to dice it and cook it down with apple juice concentrate until it becomes a sweet and savory puree. This can then be used in a variety of ways, including over your morning oats as a substitute to brown sugar and calorie dense raisins. Instead of adding extra calories to your morning meal, enjoy the filling yet low calorie density of the quince on top of your oats.
Enjoyed as part of a healthy eating plan, quince can be a great source of nutrition and flavor. As always, be sure to maintain a balanced diet made up of a wide variety of colorful, natural fruits and vegetables, unprocessed whole grains, legumes and lean sources of protein. For more information, check out the Pritikin Diet and Eating Plan.
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15 Amazing Health Benefits Of Quince Fruit Saba Hyderabd040-395603080 August 28, 2019
Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet. They are rich in vital nutrients that are needed by our body to stay healthy. While fruits like mangoes, oranges, bananas, pineapples, watermelons, grapes, apple, etc., are commonly eaten by all of us, there are certain fruits, which most of us are unaware of. Quince is one of those rare fruits, which are loaded with nutrients and can provide you with several health benefits.
Quince is basically a fragrant fruit belonging to the Rosaceae family, which also includes apples and pears. It is native to the warm temperate regions of Southwest Asia. Quince is a seasonal fruit and is available from autumn to winter. When ripe, this fruit is golden yellow in color and resembles a pear in shape. It has a fuzzy surface that is similar to that of peaches and a light yellow, gritty flesh with multiple seeds in the center. It has a tart flavor and is seldom eaten raw. It is often baked or frozen to eliminate its acidity. In fact, it is used in traditional recipes in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions where it is stewed with lamb, goat and pork. The Asian quince variety, being softer and juicier, is often used to make preserves and jellies. Sometimes, it is also used to impart tartness to the traditional apple pie.
Health Benefits Of Quince Fruit
Like most fruits, quince is rich in nutrients like Vitamins A, B and C, fiber, as well as minerals like potassium, copper, selenium, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, iron, and magnesium. It is low in fat. The rich nutritional value of quince makes it beneficial for your health in the following ways:
1. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Ripe quince fruit is a rich source of Vitamin C, contributing nearly 25% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Vitamin C helps to boost immunity and aids in the treatment of inflammatory conditions. It also possesses anti-allergenic properties. The fruit and its seed extract can be used to treat atopic dermatitis and cystitis. It can also be used in the preparation of food products for allergy sufferers.
2. Good For Weight Loss
Quince fruit is low in calories but high in dietary fiber. A 100 gram serving of fresh raw quince fruit contains just 57 calories. It is also low in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol. All these qualities make it an amazing choice for weight loss and overall health.
3. Treats Ulcers
The phenolics present in Chinese quince have been found to be effective in relieving gastric ulcers. Quince juice is also beneficial for people suffering from gastric ulcers. It also helps in the treatment of peptic ulcers as it soothes the gastrointestinal tract.
4. Treats Stomach Ailments
Quince is an effective remedy for morning sickness. Quince, when mixed with honey, can help treat colitis, diarrhea, constipation, and intestinal infections. Quince syrup is used to treat hemorrhoids.
5. Antioxidant Benefits
This fruit boasts of amazing antioxidant properties due to the presence of poly-phenolic compounds. These antioxidants fight off the free radicals present in the body, slowing down the aging process as well as preventing cardiovascular diseases and strokes.
6. Treats Nausea And Vomiting
Boiled or baked quince relieves nausea and vomiting. Being a good diuretic, it helps to remove fluid build up.
Research has shown that quince fruit is rich in anti-viral properties. The phenolics found in Chinese quince possess strong anti-influenza activity as well as antioxidant properties. It helps protect against colds, flues and other viral pathogens.
8. Lowers Blood Pressure
Being rich in potassium, quince fruit helps keep high blood pressure in check.
9. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Regular consumption of quince fruit helps to lower LDL or bad cholesterol in the blood, keeping the heart healthy.
10. Anticancer Properties
The antioxidant properties of quince help the body fight against free radicals and destroy malignant cancer cells. The granules in the pulp of quince fruit contain astringent compounds known as tannins i.e. catechin and epicatechin. These tannins protect your mucous membranes from cancers by binding to cancer-causing toxins and chemicals in the colon.
11. Relieves Stress
The various antioxidants in quince help in relieving stress and maintaining a calm mind.
12. Treats Liver And Eye Diseases
Regular consumption of quince is beneficial for those suffering from liver and eye diseases. In China, the soaked and boiled seeds of quince are used to prepare a jelly, which can soothe eye problems, sore throats and inflammation of the mucous membranes.
14. Benefits Of Quince Seeds And Oil
Quince seeds are effective in curing hoarseness of the throat and trachea as well as other ailments. Its oil prevents sweating, fortifies the heart and strengthens the liver and stomach.
15. Other Benefits
Quince juice is helpful in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, respiratory ailments, anemia, and asthma. Regular consumption can help in the treatment of tuberculosis, dysentery and hepatic insufficiency too.
Like all other fruits, quince is also an effective addition to your regular diet. So, why not think out of the box and try something new?
Have you ever eaten quince fruit? Did you enjoy it? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.
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Hi, nothing turns me as much as health and fitness does. I believe that the ingredients you find in your pantry are the best medicine that you can get. I mostly like writing based on my experiences though I am not an expert related to any area. I like to give the best of the ideas. I am a pet lover too.
- Baars EW, Savelkoul HF. Citrus/Cydonia comp. can restore the immunological balance in seasonal allergic rhinitis-related immunological parameters in vitro. Mediators Inflamm. 2008;2008:496467. View abstract.
- Costa RM, Magalhães AS, Pereira JA, et al. Evaluation of free radical-scavenging and antihemolytic activities of quince (Cydonia oblonga) leaf: a comparative study with green tea (Camellia sinensis). Food Chem Toxicol. 2009;47(4):860-5. View abstract.
- Essafi-Benkhadir K, Refai A, Riahi I, Fattouch S, Karoui H, Essafi M. Quince (Cydonia oblonga Miller) peel polyphenols modulate LPS-induced inflammation in human THP-1-derived macrophages through NF-?B, p38MAPK and Akt inhibition. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012;418(1):180-5. View abstract.
- Gründemann C, Papagiannopoulos M, Lamy E, Mersch-Sundermann V, Huber R. Immunomodulatory properties of a lemon-quince preparation (Gencydo®) as an indicator of anti-allergic potency. Phytomedicine. 2011;18(8-9):760-8. View abstract.
- Hoffmann A, Klein SD, Gründemann C, Garcia-Käufer M, Wolf U, Huber R. Efficacy of a nasal spray from Citrus limon and Cydonia oblonga for the treatment of hay fever symptoms-A randomized, placebo controlled cross-over study. Phytother Res. 2016;30(9):1481-6. View abstract.
- Huber R, Stintzing FC, Briemle D, Beckmann C, Meyer U, Gründemann C. In vitro antiallergic effects of aqueous fermented preparations from Citrus and Cydonia fruits. Planta Med. 2012;78(4):334-40. View abstract.
- Jafari-Dehkordi E, Hashem-Dabaghian F, Aliasl F, et al. Comparison of quince with vitamin B6 for treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: a randomised clinical trial. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2017;37(8):1048-1052. View abstract.
- Kawahara T, Tsutsui K, Nakanishi E, Inoue T, Hamauzu Y. Effect of the topical application of an ethanol extract of quince seeds on the development of atopic dermatitis-like symptoms in NC/Nga mice. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017;17(1):80. View abstract.
- Pacifico S, Gallicchio M, Fiorentino A, Fischer A, Meyer U, Stintzing FC. Antioxidant properties and cytotoxic effects on human cancer cell lines of aqueous fermented and lipophilic quince (Cydonia oblonga Mill.) preparations. Food Chem Toxicol. 2012;50(11):4130-5. View abstract.
- Shinomiya F, Hamauzu Y, Kawahara T. Anti-allergic effect of a hot-water extract of quince (Cydonia oblonga). Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009;73(8):1773-8. View abstract.
- Zohalinezhad ME, Imanieh MH, Samani SM, et al. Effects of Quince syrup on clinical symptoms of children with symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease: A double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2015;21(4):268-76. View abstract.
Quinces: Fan facts and recipes
- History of quinces: which are their origins and where they come from?
- Legends about quinces, worshipped by the ancient cultures
- How do we eat quinces nowadays?
- Recipes with quinces
- Fun facts about quinces
Usually described as an hybrid between apples and pears, quinces are actually a very different fruit. The quince tree belongs to the same botanic family of apple trees and pear trees, the Rosacea, it is however classified as a different genus, namely the Cydonia.
The fruits bearing from this kind of plants are big, with an irregular form and they are highly fragrant. Quinces have a very long story and for a long time people prefer not to eat these fruits because of their sour taste, even when they are ripe. Anyway, over the years people use this fruit in many different ways: as freshener or as useful ingredients for healing decoctions, and finally for some very famous preparations such as mostarda and quince jelly.
History of quinces: which are their origins and where they come from?
Quinces come from the quince tree, one of the oldest known fruit trees. It seems that the Babylonians and the Greeks used to cultivate this trees, which spread all over Asia Minor and Caucasus until the Mediterranean Countries, among which there was also Italy.
However, quinces are certainly not included in the list of the most produced fruits. It’s easy to believe if you know that only one hundred hectares in the entire Italian territory are dedicated to the quince trees cultivation. Lombardy and Veneto have some areas highly populated with quince trees. In particular in the region nearby Treviso there is a wide area with very old spontaneous quince trees.
We can found evidences of these ancient origins of quince trees among the Italian territory also in the names of some towns, since their names clearly come from Cotogno, which means “quince tree” in Italian, namely Codognè, near Treviso and Codogno near Lodi.
Known since ancient times, quinces have been not eaten for a long time, but used for other purposes. The peasant families used to employ them as freshener for their wardrobes, bur little by little they started to use them to prepare some tasty jams. The tradition was handed until the present time. Nowadays quinces are not eaten as a raw fruit, but they are very appreciated for the preparation of preserves, mostarda and jams instead.
Legends about quinces, worshipped by the ancient cultures
Even though these fruits were not used a lot in cooking, quinces had a very good reputation among ancient cultures because of their properties. Many different legends are linked to these peculiar fruits.
Back in Greek times quinces were appreciated for their smell and we can recognize quinces in the mythological representations among the fruits exchanged by the gods. According to some testimonies of the ancient authors, the fruits offered to the gods in Sparta, had a gentle smell, but they were not so good to eat: this reminds us of raw quinces.
Among the testimonies coming from the ancient times, some of them tell about the use of quinces as healing remedies. From the Middle Age until the Renaissance, doctors suggested to drink the juice of quinces as treatment for intestinal diseases.
How do we eat quinces nowadays?
We have said that, since the ancient times, quinces are not edible raw because of their bitter taste. Well then: how quinces can be used in cooking? To balance the tartness of this fruit it is recommended to cook them with water and sugar: after that you can try plenty of recipes and preparations, cakes and different kind of desserts.
Quinces are mainly used to prepare preserves and jams: not just the classic quince jelly or mostarda, because these fruits – naturally rich in pectin – are often used to prepare other kind of preserves. Pectin is actually a natural setting agent and thanks to its properties fruits can last longer. The ancient recipe of mostarda takes advantage of this benefit, since it was conceived to preserve fruits for long periods.
Recipes with quinces
Here we are, finally describing how to use quinces in cooking: which recipes can we prepare with these smelling fruits? They are mostly used to prepare some refined desserts: sugar normally sweets the natural tartness of these fruits, enhancing their taste and their smell. Here below you can find some ideas to enrich your menus with quinces!
Quince jelly is the most classic dessert made with quinces: its preparation is long and elaborate, if you want to follow the traditional recipe. Its preparation method is the same as the one used to prepare a classic fruit jam, but quince jelly also needs a drying process, which may last from two to three weeks. After that jelly quince is ready to be taste.
Among the most recommended recipes in order to serve an original dessert with quinces, we propose you to prepare some baked quinces. It is a very easy preparation: cut the fruits in half and put them on a baking tray with sugar, red wine and cloves. When fully cooked, serve them with vanilla ice cream.
Instead of baking a classic apple cake you can choose to use quinces. You just need to prepare the smooth and traditional dough, adding small pieces of quinces previously cooked with lemon juice and sugar.
Not only desserts: quinces may be used to prepare an excellent spirit with digestive properties. The first step consists in grating the fruits pulp, which needs to work for a couple of days. Then extract the juice and add alcohol (1 l.) and sugar (500 g.). Depending on anyone’s taste, quince liqueur may be flavored with a few cloves or a pinch of cinnamon. That’s when the process of maceration begins. After 3 months, strain the mixture and the sweet digestive liqueur will be ready to be drink.
Fun facts about quinces
Quinces are some very particular fruits, and there are a lot of fun facts to discover about them, such as:
- On the tree, quinces are covered in a soft fuzz which protects the fruits until they are ripe. At this point the fuzz wears off discovering the golden tone skin of these fruits.
- Quinces harvest time is usually between September and October, after that they require to be stored for two or three weeks covered with straw. When you pick quinces, they exude a strong smell which may be annoying: straw neutralizes it until quinces are ready to be used in cooking.
There is a temptation to leave them in a bowl on the kitchen table, their soft roses ’n’ honey scent getting more pronounced as the room warms. But no – every quince needs cooking, where its impenetrable flesh will soften almost to jelly and turn the colour of a winter sunset. This is, after all, probably one of the few fruits you truly cannot eat raw.
I have braised them with lamb, adding honey, fresh ginger and saffron; roasted them with pork and marsala and baked them at a leisurely pace, basting the halves of fruit as they roasted with butter, lemon and sugar. Once I tried to capture their fragrance in an ice – and failed.
Once it has been baked or poached, the flesh becomes soft and almost Turkish delight-like. A quince in this state will benefit from a crisp crust. Best so far has been a crumble, rough as pebbledash, where I tossed together flour, butter, almonds and breadcrumbs and sweetened it with light, butterscotch-scented muscovado.
The effect of a single quince in an apple pie, which introduces a delicious hint of perfume to the filling, is well known, but it is worth cooking the quince for a little while first, as its rock-hard flesh takes longer to submit to the heat of the oven than any apple.
We grow them in the UK, but many are imported from Turkey and Iran and appear here in late autumn – the harvest is in October – to early spring, and then they vanish. This week I stewed a couple of them slowly with sugar and lemon, then tucked roughly torn pieces of panettone among them to give a warming winter pudding. And then I poached some more, to have for breakfast with yogurt, and to eat later with blue cheese – an almost molten gorgonzola.
If I had a box of fruits appear on my doorstep, I would certainly have a go at making quince jelly to eat with cheese. And I wouldn’t stop at the firm Spanish cheeses that this slightly gritty amber spread traditionally accompanies. The sweet paste shines with goat’s cheeses and blues alike. I like the idea of making a tiny parcel of blue cheese, wrapping it in pastry and serving it with membrillo, as quince paste is known, on the side.
As a culinary marriage, it sits alongside our own of a wedge of Wensleydale with a slice of fruitcake or the rare and wonderful combination (at least in my neck of the woods) of Lancashire cheese and eccles cake.
Though it is of the same family, a peeled or sliced quince will brown quicker than any apple or pear. A brushing of lemon juice will not only slow up the inevitable, but actually has something to offer in terms of flavour. Lemon, along with clove, cinnamon, maple syrup and honey, is a delightful note to bring to this fruit.
Quince and panettone pudding
A small jump from pears with roquefort: quince and panettone pudding. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/Observer
I first made this with brioche, but panettone is much easier to find. The occasional nub of candied peel from the sweet bread is pleasing, too.
quinces 1.2kg (peeled and cored weight)
caster sugar 200g
Cut the lemon in half, then squeeze one half into a medium mixing bowl.
Peel the quinces, slice them in half, then into thick segments, discarding the cores as you go. Cut the fruit into small dice and toss them in the lemon juice. Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4.
Place a large heavy-based cooking pot over a low heat and tip in the cubed quince, the caster sugar, 250ml of water and the remaining half of the lemon. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat so the quince simmers very gently. Partially cover with a lid. Let the fruit cook for about 40 minutes, during which time it will change colour to glowing yellow-pink. Stir the mixture regularly to make sure it doesn’t catch and burn. There should be quite a bit of syrup.
Remove the quince from the heat. Spoon the fruit and its cooking syrup into a baking dish approximately 24cm in diameter. Break the panettone into large bite-sized pieces, then push them down into the fruit.
Bake for 30 minutes or till the surface is crisp but still pale gold, perhaps a little toasted here and there. Serve with double cream.
Poached quince, gorgonzola cream
Sweet soft-fleshed quince and blue-veined cheese – a small jump from that other sublime partnership, ripe pears with roquefort.
caster sugar 150g
double cream 250ml
Put the sugar into a saucepan, add 750ml of water and bring to the boil. Peel the quinces then cut them in half from tip to base. Lower the quince halves into the syrup, add the lemon, cut in half then add to the pan. Turn the heat down so the quinces simmer gently. Partially cover with a lid and leave to cook, testing occasionally for tenderness with the point of a skewer.
The quinces must be thoroughly tender before being removed from the syrup. Remove the quince halves with a draining spoon, reserving a little of the syrup for moistening the fruit as you serve it. Keep the rest, refrigerated, for poaching other fruits. (Lightly perfumed, it will work for both apples and pears.) Set the quinces aside to cool.
Pour the cream into a small bowl and whisk gently till it just starts to thicken. Spoon the gorgonzola into the whipped cream and stir to mix and thicken.
Place half a quince on each of 4 plates, spoon a little syrup over, then add a generous mound of the gorgonzola cream.
Here’s how to eat a quince while the fruit’s in season
Quince are an intriguing fruit.
In the same family as apples and pears, they resemble knobbly, squat Bartlett pears, with a smooth, pale green skin that turns yellow as the fruit ripens and a layer of grey fuzz on the surface of the skin that can be easily rubbed off with your fingers.
Quince emit a wonderfully floral aroma as they ripen, but generally can’t be eaten out of hand — while some varieties can, if allowed to ripen and soften long enough, most are too hard and bitter and must be cooked first.
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As they cook, the heat transforms from a pale, yellowish white to a deep pinkish apricot colour as the fruit softens to a smooth, velvety texture. The flavour is much like its aroma: sweet and floral, almost like elderflower or a muscat grape.
There are plenty of ways to cook quince; they can be roasted or poached, or peeled, cored and sliced into pies, tarts, cakes and crisps — by themselves, or along with apples or other fruit.
Quince paste is also known as quince cheese — a firm jelly that can be cut into squares or sliced and served alongside cheeses. (Julie van Rosendaal/CBC)
But with a high quantity of pectin, they’re commonly turned into preserves, jellies, jams and quince paste, which is also known as quince cheese — a firm jelly that can be cut into squares or sliced and served alongside cheeses.
One of the most popular snacks in Spain is membrillo (the Spanish name for quince paste) served with manchego, a firm, buttery sheep’s milk cheese.
Since sugar acts as a preservative, quince paste will store well in the fridge for a couple months, so while quince are in season now, you can make a batch or two to tuck away for the holidays.
One of the most popular snacks in Spain is membrillo (the Spanish name for quince paste) served with manchego, a firm, buttery sheep’s milk cheese. (Julie van Rosedaal/CBC)
Feel free to spice your quince paste by simmering a cinnamon stick, a few cardamom pods or a star anise along with the fruit — I don’t like to add too much, so it doesn’t overwhelm the complex flavour of the quince itself.
Peel, core and dice as many quince as you like, put them in a pot with enough water to cover them by a couple inches, and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the quince are very soft.
Drain off most of the water (I like to leave a bit in to make it easier to puree), and puree the fruit in a food processor until completely smooth.
Return the puree to the pot, add an equal amount of sugar (so if you have three cups of puree, you’ll need three cups of sugar), bring to a simmer and cook for an hour or so, stirring often as it thickens, until it turns apricot-coloured and thickens to the point that it pulls away from the side of the pan.
Cool slightly and pour into small jars or ramekins (line them with plastic wrap first if you want to unmould them) and refrigerate until firm.
Alternatively, if the puree is thick enough, sprinkle a board generously with sugar, spread over the paste, spreading it smooth with a knife or offset spatula, and sprinkle the top generously with sugar too.
Once completely cooled, cut into small squares.
Poached quince cheesecake
As they cook, the heat transforms quince from a pale, yellowish white to a deep pinkish apricot colour as the fruit softens to a smooth, velvety texture. (Julie van Rosendaal/CBC)
Poached quince keeps well in the fridge, so you can use it to top ice cream or other cakes, or serve the soft slices over oatmeal or yogurt and granola in the morning, with some of its poaching liquid drizzled overtop.
2-3 quince, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup sugar
3 cups water
A cinnamon stick, a few cardamom pods or star anise (optional)
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
½ cup butter, at room temperature
1 egg, divided
2 8-oz pkg cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
To poach the quince, bring the slices to a simmer in a medium saucepan with the sugar and water, and some cinnamon, cardamom or star anise if you like, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the quince are soft. Set aside to cool and preheat the oven to 375˚F.
To make the crust, combine the flour, sugar, butter and the yolk of the egg (reserve the white) in a small bowl and blend with a fork, or your fingers until well blended.
Press into the bottom and about half an inch up the sides of a buttered or sprayed nine-inch springform pan.
To make the filling, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and lump-free; add the eggs, one at a time, then the reserved egg white and vanilla.
Poached quince keeps well in the fridge. (Julie van Rosendaal/CBC)
Pour into the pastry lined pan and top with the poached quince—I removed them from the poaching liquid with a slotted spoon and placed them gently on top, but don’t worry if they sink a bit.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the cake is puffed and golden, but still slightly jiggly in the middle; it will firm up as it cools. Let cool completely in the pan, then refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight.
If you like, brush with some of the leftover poaching syrup before serving.
Quince may resemble pears and apples, but unlike their fruit brethren, raw quince are inedibly tannic and sour. This means you do have to cook them, but the transformation is dramatic, and well worth your efforts. Poached quince are so tender, aromatic, and rosy that you’d hardly believe the raw fruit is white, fibrous, and hard as a rock. To remove the quince core without also removing a finger, follow these three simple steps.
Remove the yellow skin from ripe quince with a vegetable peeler. If you’re making quince jelly, membrillo (quince paste), or other preserves, save the skins—they contain a lot of pectin and can be wrapped in cheesecloth and added to jams or jellies to help them set. (Looking for a homemade jam primer? Right this way.)
Stand quince up so it’s resting on the bottom, making sure it isn’t wobbling around (you can slice off a bit of the bottom to create a flat surface, if necessary). Using a chef’s knife, cut down alongside one side of the core to separate flesh.
Continue cutting around core to remove two to three more lobes. Try to work quickly so the white flesh doesn’t discolor and save the cores and seeds for jelly-making.
Alex Lau Get the recipe: Chamomile Panna Cotta with Quince Prep apples just as easily, no corer necessary: