Quince Paste

posted by Maree 09-10-98 12:35 AM

Quince Paste:
Adapted from Jane Grigson's Fruit Book, Penguin, 1982. No ISBN given.

2kg/4lb quince, peeled and cut up
300ml/ 1/2 pt. /10fl.oz water
Granulated sugar
Cinnamon (optional)

Place cut quince into a heavy pan with water. Bring to boil and simmer until tender. Towards the end, mash with a potato masher. Puree should be very soft and easy to push through a drum sieve (mouli or similar).

Weigh puree and put back into the rinsed out pan with an equal weight of granulated sugar. Stir over a low heat until sugar is dissolved. Then increase heat and boil (carefully) until mix thickens and candies, leaving sides of pan and turning bright red. It will explode and pop and 'burp' if it's doing the right thing! It must be constantly watched and stirred when it starts to thicken as it will burn very easily. To protect yourself, wrap a cloth around you hand and use a wooden spoon. Eventually, you'll hardly be able to move the spoon it will be so thick. (It helps if you can have help as the required constant stirring is hard work).

Remove from pan and spread out into centimetre / 1/2" layers in baking trays lined with Bake/ Bakewell or greaseproof paper. Push it out as evenly as you can. When it cools slightly, wet your hands (clean) and press it smooth (or I guess you could use the back of a large spoon or similar).

Put the trays somewhere where the paste can dry out that is not humid. Grigson suggests an airing cupboard, a plate-warmer tray of the oven or in the oven with it turned down to its lowest temperature. It will need around 12 hrs to dry. When it can be cut into firm squares with a hot knife it is ready. Cut into squares or into slabs (as preferred).

Dip the squares (or whatever) in granulated sugar (add cinnamon if you like). Pack in layers- with rice paper/greaseproof paper in between the layers. Grigson suggests adding 2-3 bay leaves to each container. If there's a risk of humidity, make sure the container(s) are airtight. As the paste is used, you can use the left over flavoured sugar as you would vanilla sugar.

She suggests serving with coffee, laid on grilled pork chops or mixed into apple pies and sauces as a flavouring. And, as we know, as part of a cheese platter. She says that if stored correctly, it should last for at least two years.

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