I’m always keen to find new quince recipes, because every autumn my quince tree heaps basketfuls of this wonderful, old-fashioned fruit on me. My classic is the double reduced, deep coral red, jelly. Besides pure muscle strength (which is always necessary to cut a quince in pieces) it takes many steps and a lot of time to prepare. Although I really love the classic jelly I have been looking for something easier, quicker, but nevertheless more sophisticated than the homely quince and apple sauce.
Regardless of the recipe, you will need a good kitchen equipment and you have to be very careful not to cut your fingers to turn the tough and rock-hard fruit into its soft, sweet and fragrant state.
In one of the last weekend editions of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung I came across this recipe which I put aside for the next “quincy” occasion: poached quinces with mint cream.
poached quinces with mint cream
yields 4 servings
2 ripe and beautiful quinces
1/2 l white wine
1 vanilla pod
for the cream:
5 fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
200g créme fraiche
Peel the quinces with a regular vegetable peeler. Cut the fruit in half using a large sharp chef’s knife. Be careful! Cut the core and seeds away. They are very hard and woody, I use a melon baller to cut them out. Make the poaching liquid combining the wine, the honey, the sugar and the vanilla pod. Let it simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the quinces. Let them cook at a bare simmer for 40 minutes or until pink and tender.
Refrigerate them in the liquid.
Combine the crème fraiche, the sugar and the mint and blend in a blender. Refrigerate.
Serve the quinces without the poaching liquid (you may save it to drizzle it over ice cream). Cover them generously with mint cream and decorate with a sprig of fresh mint.
And here’s how I cook our traditional double reduced quince jelly:
6 -8 quinces
Clean the quinces with a kitchen cloth. Chop them with a sharp chef’s knife. Put them into a large pot with core, seeds and skin. Let them cook at low temperature for about 40 minutes. Strain Them through a cheese cloth during the night or at least for a couple of hours. I additionally press the cheese cloth with my hands to increase the amount of juice before I discard the fruit. It will become a little less transparent, but who cares!
Measure the juice. It should yield one liter. If it is more liquid reduce it cooking at slow temperature with the lid open.
Combine one liter juice with 500g sugar. Reduce it again cooking slowly with the lid open to about one liter. You will see how it thickens. Try if it has jelled cooling a tiny amount on a plate. Fill it in jars. Enjoy!