Friday, October 14, 2022


Quinces are one of my favourite fruits. They can be a bit tart, that is true, but they are delicious and fragrant beyond any other fruit, if you ask me.
There is an old tradition, that I like to think is still alive, of putting a couple of quinces on top of the wardrobe, so the entire room smells of them. The fruit does keep well, too, so there was no fear of the fruit spoiling.
When I was young, my grandmother would make a delicious preserve, almost resembling poached fruit, that she would serve with toasted walnuts and strong coffee. The smell of quinces in that signature sweet syrup will always remind me of those days.
This preserve is something that I make every year. It requires just a handful of ingredients, a bit of time to prepare the fruit, and it is simply the best to enjoy with a tiny spoon; nothing else is needed.
Quinces can be quite hard, so the grating helps cook them fairly quickly, which is something that I prefer. Also, this way, the preserve is much easier to blend with an immersion blender and use as a tart filling, which is one of my favourite uses for it.
On a final note, the preserve will not have a typical jam texture, it is softer, with more syrup; so if you want it a bit thicker, do cook for a tad bit more. Do keep in mind that it will firm up as it cools, so if it is overcooked, it will be very hard to enjoy with a spoon, due to its texture.

400 grams quinces; peeled, cored, and grated
500 grams granulated sugar
200 millilitres cold water
75 grams toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Add the sugar to a large, heavy-bottomed pot, pour in the cold water, and place the pot over medium-high heat. Let it come to a boil, and bubble away for about 4-5 minutes, until slightly thickened, but still clear. Add in the grated quinces, shake the pot so they distribute evenly, and bring it back to a boil.
Cook the preserve for about 15 minutes, shaking the pot gently from time to time, so it doesn’t burn. Add in the walnut pieces and the vanilla, mix very well, and cook for about 5 minutes more.
Check for setting point either with a thermometer (105°C), or by using the saucer test. Place a few drops of the syrup on a chilled saucer, and if they stay in place, if they are not runny, it is done.
If you prefer your preserves on the thicker side, cook it for slightly longer. Remove from the heat, let it cool down a tad, and fill the prepared and sterilised jars. Yields 500 grams of quince preserve.

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