It is quince season again in the northern hemisphere. This fruit can not be eaten raw but makes a fantastic compote, jelly or even fruit cheese. With this recipe you can make all three, all you have to do is vary the amount of water. Quinces have a lot of pectin so even if you make the compote the juices will form a lovely jelly. The flavour is reminiscent of apples and pears but more fragrant. A couple of spoons will elevate a humble apple pie or make a bowl of Greek yogurt exciting, and it is also great with cheese and savoury dishes. By grating the quince you won't have to bother with peeling or pre boiling.
- sugar, half the weight of your quince
- 1 cup of water per quince to start off with, more may be needed
- squeeze of lemon juice
Grate your quince, or quinces. Try to be fairly quick because the fruit oxidizes fairly quickly. Discard the core. Weigh the grated flesh and add it to a pan with the water and a squeeze of lemon juice. This will stop the oxidation. Now halve the weight of the fruit and add that amount of sugar.
Bring up to a gentle simmer. Quinces take quite some time to cook. Because it will take between 30 and 40 minutes it is important to keep an eye on the compote as it is very quick to burn on the bottom. Don't be afraid to add extra water if it evaporates too quickly. If you want more of a jam consistency, or make the famed quince cheese you will have to lower the heat at the end significantly to reduce the amount of water without burning. The compote is the easiest option and it will easily take a full 2 cups of water. After 20 minutes or so you can use an immersion blender to smooth the compote. the longer you blend the smoother the end result will be. In the case of this compote I wanted a slightly chunky texture so I only used the blender for a short amount of time.
Once the compote turns a rusty orange it is ready.
Always do a little taste test to see if you prefer some extra lemon or want to reduce it some more. Transfer the compote to a sterilized jar. The compote is quite sweet which helps keeping it preserved. However it is not a jam because of the higher water content and has a shorter shelf life. You will want to keep it in the refrigerator and eat it within one or two weeks. if you made a jam or fruit cheese by adding less water or letting more water evaporate the shelf life will be considerably longer.