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Author Notes: Ever since I read "Good Things" by Jane Grigson I have wanted to cook all kinds of quince recipes. She wrote the book in quirky chapters, with one for Meat Pies, and of course, one for Apples and Quince. This recipe, adapted from her recipe for Membrilo, is similar to a fruit jelly but easier to make. Her recipes are somewhat elliptical and I have tried to add more detail about how to cook the fruit and get the candy to the right texture. We make it to give as a gift at Christmas time and to eat after the big holiday meals. The cornelian color is beautiful, and because the fruit starts a dull cream, it's like alchemy to see it change as it cooks. I have never seen a flowering quince, but they also sound exotically beautiful. She describes them as "the most beautiful of the blossoms of spring, the quince's soft pink globes, with their falling ruff of silver green leaves" (from Good Things by Jane Grigson). The paste can be flavored with cloves, cinnamon, vanilla and grated lemon or orange rind, but I like it best plain, with any flavoring added after the paste is cooked by using a flavored sugar, like vanilla sugar. Plain is nice, too, if you don't have vanilla. You can also swaddle them in powdered sugar. —luvcookbooks
Makes 1-2 pounds
- 6 medium quinces
- sugar to cook with the quinces
- flavored sugar, like vanilla sugar, to coat the candies
- 1. Quarter the quinces carefully. They can be very hard. Core and peel, still carefully. Cut into chunks, about 4 per quarter.
- 2. Put about half an inch of water in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the quinces and heat gently, stirring often, until they are soft and breaking down.
- 3. Measure the quince and put equal measures of sugar and quince into a clean, heavy pan. Cook over a low to medium flame, stirring often, especially as the mixture thickens, to avoid scorching it.
- 4, When the mixture is thick enough that you can see the bottom of the pan as you stir and the edges start to pull away from the side of the pan, pour the mixture onto a shallow baking sheet in a layer about half an inch thick..
- 5. When it has cooled, put it in a warming oven if you have one, or cover it with waxed paper and keep it in a warm dry place (sunny if possible). In a warming oven, it should take about 12 hours and in a warm dry place 3 or 4 days. If it is not dry enough, it will mold. It should be shiny on the top and if you press gently it will not give. It wil remind you of a Chuckle (flat gum drop like candy of my childhood).
- 6. When the paste is dry, use a small, sharp knife to cut it into oblongs about the size of a small Tootsie roll. Roll it in flavored granulated sugar on all sides. If there is not enough sugar, the candies will mold. Pack into an airtight box with wax paper and extra sugar in between the layers.
- 7 .Nice at the very end of a meal by itself or with a soft cheese, while you drink coffee or brandy.