Yields about 6 cups fruit plus 2 cups syrup
What You Need
1 KG quince (about 3 large)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey (or another 1/4 cup sugar)
Optional flavorings: Large strip of lemon or orange peel, halved vanilla bean, whole cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, fresh ginger cut into coins
Large chef's knife
Small paring knife
Parchment paper or lid
- Weigh the quince: This basic formula can easily be doubled or tripled or more, depending on how much fruit you have. These proportions are for 1 KG.
- Peel the quince: The quince can be peeled easily using a regular vegetable peeler.
- Cut the quince in half: Cut the fruit in half with a large, sharp chef's knife. Be sure your cutting board is secure; the fruit is very tough and spongy and will be hard to cut.
- Slice into quarters and cut away the core: Slice each fruit into quarters, then use your chef's knife to cut the core and seeds away. Again, this is tough, so be careful; the middle of a quince is woody and hard to cut.
- Slice off any wormy bits: Quince are not a widely-grown commercial crop, expect to see some veins or spots that need to be cut away. Use a small, sharp paring knife to cut away anything that seems unappetizing.
- Place cut quince into a bowl of water: As you finish with each quince quarter, place in a large bowl of water to prevent browning.
- Make the poaching liquid and add any flavorings: Mix together 4 cups water, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup honey in a 3-quart (or larger) saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the quince and cover with a parchment "lid": Slip the quince into the liquid and cover with a parchment "lid," made by cutting a round piece of parchment just large enough to cover the pan. If you don't have parchment you can cover the pan loosely with a lid instead. The goal is to keep most of the liquid from evaporating while cooking the quince, but to still let it reduce a little bit into a sweet syrup. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cover with the parchment or a lid.
- Simmer for 40 to 50 minutes: Cook at a bare simmer for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the quince is turning pink and is tender.
- Refrigerate in the poaching liquid: When the quince is pink and tender, turn off the heat and either strain and use right away, or refrigerate the quince in the poaching liquid for up to 7 days.
- Freezing: The quince can also be frozen, with its liquid or without.
- The Syrup: Don't throw out that beautiful liquid! It's a wonderful byproduct of cooking quince. You can stir it into drinks or Champagne, or reduce it further and drizzle it over cakes or ice cream