Any Cheese maker worth his salt should be able to whip up a few accompaniments for their cheese, so I gave it a go. I made the most amazing Quince Paste!
I read somewhere that Quince paste was a really good complimentary flavour that goes with most cheeses. Having never tried it before, it was a bit of a gamble, but one that paid off in the end. The flavour is sensational, and I would recommend this fruit paste to anyone who is wondering what to do with a few spare quinces.
I found a recipe from Taste.com.au and followed it exactly. It worked fine, except that I added a full cup of water at the start because it looked like it was going to boil dry! Pretty easy process. Peel, core, chop, then stew. After the chopped up quinces turned to mush, I blended them in the food process whilst hot and then returned the fruit to the pot and added the sugar.
So that I could capture the long 3.5 hour process, I took photos at 15 minute intervals.
I just love the way it changes colour during the cooking process.
Then I lined 6 ramekins with plastic wrap and ladled in the paste, and when it cooled a little, we folded over the wrap to protect it as it set.
I left them on the kitchen counter overnight and we had some for lunch with a piece of ash coated Brie and Castello white cheese. Unfortunately, these are not my creations, because of Sustainable House Day preparations, but will be getting stuck into cheesemaking again next week.
The taste was great and it really brought out the flavour of the cheese. A great accompaniments indeed. Not quite sure how to store it, but we have it in a sealed container in the fridge. Hopefully it will store for a while, at least until I get a Caerphilly made and ripened! I can just taste the sweet and salty together, yummy.
Can anyone help and let me know if I can freeze Quince Paste? Comments welcome.
I have just made the Crab Apple paste. Just beautiful. The only thing I did differently was to put it through a large sieve after puree, as it had lots and lots of “things” in it from around the seeds. Must have collected about half a cup of these, which where like fish scales, and Im sure, they would have been detectable when eating the paste. This was fiddly, but glad I took the time. Now just have them in the oven with the fan on over night to dry them down a little more as suggested by Anonymous above…
I make quince, plum, apricot, crab apple and pear pastes every year.
Set them in mini muffin tins, half full, so that they're about 4cm deep. Lightly brush non-stick pans with canola oil and wipe out any excess oil carefully. Non-stick pans don't need oiling.
Dry them in the pans in the oven overnight – cooled down to 100C, with the door ajar and the fan on. Next day take them out of the pans and put on cake racks. Give them another 12-18 hours in the just warm oven with the fan on and door ajar.
Store them in plastic containers on baking paper, separating each layer with baking paper.
I store them in my pantry – no freezing, no refrigeration. Admittedly in mid-Winter my pantry can get to below freezing!! Summer temperatures here rarely go above 30C.
I'm currently using quince paste that was made September 2009 stored as above and it's perfect – no grainy sugar coating.
PS Pear and cracked black pepper paste is superb.
I made crab apple paste as well as quince paste this year… used the same method, but with crab apples, and it tasted almost better than the quince paste – a real winner and worth a try.
Kirsty @ Bowerbird Blue says
You can make quince jelly just using the cores and skins left over from paste. We just had the last of our quince paste made over 12 months ago – just starting to go a bit sugary. Kept it in the fridge cut in squares and wrapped in baking paper, then in a container. I wonder if yours might be a bit moister because its such a big mould, I did mine about 2cm thick in a tin, then had portions cut ready for cheese platter. I made the last lot in the microwave as I found it pretty spitty at the end of the cooking process. worth the pain though, whole family loves the stuff.
I always love your blogs with your enthusiasm which comes over in all you write.
I have made quince jelly in the past flavoured with mint which I called 'quint' jelly.
Another thing I have done is fruit leather. The commercial ones are 90% apples so I made mine with 100% apples and occasionally added some other fruit to vary it, such as blueberries, plums or strawberries. Basically I cooked the fruit in the microwave so as not to have to add water, then mashed it in my food processor, added a good amount of honey and spread it out on poly to dry. I actually made a gadget to spread an even 4mm (approx) layer across the plastic and put it in a small room with a dehumidifier. In 24 hours it was almost dry so I peeled it off the plastic and turned it over to dry from the other side. This will keep indefinitely if sealed (it's hygoscopic), though whether it would go with cheese is another matter. Perhaps you can make Quince leather from your quince paste.
Gavin, you've inspired me. I made up an apple chutney to serve with our homemade manchego cheese. The sweet and sour of the chutney really goes well with the cheese.
I haven't tried freezing quince paste, but it shouldn't be necessary. If you let it dry out in the moulds or just on a board it will get to a point where it keeps very nicely. I store mine in the fridge and it keeps indefinitely – it has a huge amount of sugar which acts as a preservative. Some recipes suggest dusting with caster sugar, but I find that has a tendency to make it sticky. You can make fruit pastes with other fruit in pretty much the same way – tart plums were particularly well.