Quince paste is as old as the hills, being made in the Middle East and slowly spreading across Europe and indeed into Australia, primarily through our foodie icon, Maggie Beer. It must be one of the best uses of quinces.
You will find quinces in the green grocers in Autumn and again in Spring. They are long-keeping, so the appearance in the shops in Spring is a bit of an artifice, I am afraid, as their fruiting time is Autumn. I have such a love of this fruit – perhaps they remind me of my Grandmother. Years ago, I knew of a wonderful, neglected quince tree in the Clare Valley in South Australia, and each Autumn I would spend a weekend in this delightful region and come home with a bucket of quinces. One year, the tree had been removed, and I was devastated.
Since then, I have found that one of my friends has a quince tree, and every Autumn I still get my bucket of quinces. I feel blessed at this time of year, there is such an abundance of produce. It is as though nature is also preparing for Winter.
There are many recipes for quince paste. I use this one. I like the way that the long cooking intensifies the flavour. Serve with the creamiest of cheeses, or eat on its own as a sweet – sneak some for your midnight snack.
This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2005, and is part of our Retro Recipes series.