When it comes to favourite things to eat, I can’t go past a well-stocked cheese board, ideally featuring the likes of a triple cream brie, a sharp blue, some good plain crackers, muscatels, some nuts, and a generous slab of quince paste. The latter brings a pleasingly sweet tanginess and some satisfying textural interest to good a sharp cheese, but at $6 or $7 per 100g tub, it’s a decidedly sub-optimal purchase dollar-wise
As such, I’ve been waiting for Autumn to roll around so I can get stuck into making my own quince paste at home. After stocking up on a kilo of these bad boys at my local grocer, and propping open Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion to the quince section, I hit the kitchen. I filled 3 assorted brownie pans and ceramic baking dishes with these quantities, so it’s safe to say I’ll be flush with quince paste for at least the rest of the year…
Start by coring, deseeding and chopping the quinces, then transfer to a large heavy-based saucepan along with the juice of half a lemon. Cover the quinces with water, bring to the boil, then simmer on a low heat until tender. Transfer the quinces to a food processor or blender and blend in batches until pureed, then measure the weight of the mixture. Add 2/3 of this weight in sugar to the pot, then pour in the pureed mixture and stir to combine. Line up something good on Netflix and stir the mixture every few minutes for the next several hours, as it slowly starts thickening up and turning that lovely jewel-bright garnet colour.
Once the mixture is nice and thick and has hit that perfect quince paste shade, ladle into pans lined with greaseproof paper – it’ll need several hours to cool down and dry out to a good slice-and-spread consistency. Having said that, I left mine for a few days due to sheer disinterest in washing up the baking dishes, but as it turns out, the greaseproof paper made that a cinch. The paste can be left as whole slabs and stored in airtight containers, or sliced into cheese board-appropriate portions and stored in the fridge next to the cheese stash.