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Quince paste (longish)

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  • ladymorwenna@yahoo.com
    I thought some of you might be interested in hearing the results of my experimentation with quince paste. I didn t follow any specific recipe, but used
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 29, 2001
      I thought some of you might be interested in hearing the results of my
      experimentation with quince paste.

      I didn't follow any specific recipe, but used elements from several
      16th cookbooks including Delightes for Ladies (thanks, Katherine!) and
      Elinor Fettiplaces Receipt Book.

      I started with 2 1/2 pounds of quinces (5 quinces), which I quartered.
      I put them in a large pot with water to cover and boiled them for 2
      hours. Some cookbooks call for boiling, others for baking.

      After 2 hours the quinces were very mushy. I drained and saved the
      cooking water, which had all the jelling properties of the quince

      I started pressing then through a fine sieve. Next time I will just
      wait for them to cool a bit, peel them and extract the cores and just
      mush them with a spoon. I didn't manage to get all the skin out of the
      pulp this time.

      Weighing the pulp, I had a pound and a half. Most of the recipes I
      looked at call for equal weights of fruit pulp and sugar and about 4
      fluid ounces (1/2 cup) of liquid per pound. This also jibed with a
      modern cookbook of Sephardi recipes. I reduced the cooking liquid by
      boiling to 3/4 cup, added the pulp and 3 cups (1 1/2 lb.) of sugar.

      Then I cooked the pulp over very low heat for about 3 hours, stirring
      pretty continuously. Quinces darken from a light pink to deep red as
      they cook. I was hoping for the latter but decided to take what I
      could get. It didn't redden a great deal before it thickened so much
      that I had trouble stirring. I believe if I had added more water and
      continued cooking I would have eventually achieved the deep red, but
      it was past midnight at that point. It ended up a dark peach color.

      I let the paste cool a little then spread it into a 9 x 12 glass pan
      that had been lined with plastic wrap. The paste was quite thick and I
      had every confidence it would set. I lightly covered the top of the
      pan with waxed paper so as to allow air flow while keeping out dust
      and/or the contractors that plague my house and let the paste dry out
      for several days.

      5 days later I very easily turned it out of its pan and cut it into
      cubes which I sprinkled with more sugar and packed into a tin,
      separating the layer with waxed paper. The paste was rather sticky,
      but very firm and cut easily.

      I actually haven't tried it yet as Yevsha's been away and they were
      his quinces. I'll be interested to see if it keeps "alle the yeare". 2
      1/2 pounds of quinces made a great deal of paste, but if it's as good
      as I hope, I don't know how long it will last. : )

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