Wednesday, April 1, 2009
A taste of Quince
Because we have been renting and have only had about 1/3 of my kitchen equipment with us, I have not gone full swing into the jam and relish making that I normally do this time of year. However, I have this fascination with quinces and each year I do try and make something with quince. Quinces are a delightful, old fashioned fruit. They look a bit like a cross between an apple and a pear, but they are hard and inedible without cooking them. Slow cooking turns them the most amazing deep red colour and they have a wonderful perfume. They truly are the most incredible fruit.
Most often I make quince jelly which is fabulous on a cheese board and some quince glaze which is like a reduced quince syrup that you can use on ice-cream, to glaze chicken pieces, to brush over a hot tart, etc. Last year for the first time I made quince paste, which I love. I have read how difficult it is to make quince paste, as it takes a long time to thicken enough to make a paste and spits and hisses at you the whole time as you stir the stuff.
However, I used a recipe which was on the foodlovers web site for microwave quince paste. I made this last year and a friend brought some quinces back from the Hawkes Bay and so I made some more a couple of weeks ago. The microwave quince paste is so easy. You simmer your quinces for 3 hours, then puree the flesh in a food processor, add equal amounts of sugar and then microwave, stirring every ten minutes until the paste is thick. The nice part about this recipe is that you can use the leftover simmering water to make quince jelly – which is pictured above.
Next year, or maybe in April or May when I am back in a fully functioning kitchen (actually more than fully functioning as it has two ovens, two dishwashers, two sinks and a large scullery – I am so excited!!!) I would like to try the same method with pears and apples. I wouldn’t simmer the fruit for as long, but I think the same principles would apply. If you do get hold of some quince though, this is a fabulous way to make the delicious flavour last for the whole year.