Quince season is officially over but you can still find them at the market. They are a very versatile fruit that, in Greek cuisine since antiquity, have been used in both savoury and sweet dishes.
For all the ancient Greek mythology lovers the quince is also the golden apple that was awarded to Aphrodite for being the fairest of the 3 goddesses (Aphrodite, Hera and Athena) by Prince Paris who in turn was awarded the gift of the most beautiful woman..Helen of Sparta...by the goddess of beauty which tragically ended in the legendary Trojan War.
Like anyone who loves their cheese and cracker platter you can't go without quince paste. I prefer homemade as there are no chemical preservatives added. It is so easy to make!
1.5 kg quince (about 4-5)
sugar (1 cup sugar to 1 cup of cooked and strained fruit)
Carefully peel the quince and de-seed. Cut the fruit into wedges. My mum makes a quince paste with the wedges and a quince jelly with the peel and seeds.
In a saucepan add the wedges and cover with water. Simmer for about 1/2 hour or so until very tender.
Most recipes call for over an hour of cooking time once you are up to the the sugar part of the recipe. This is the easy and fast method. My mum places the softened fruit in muslin and strains it over a bowl ensuring not to lose any of the the liquid. She then adds the strained fruit it to the saucepan with sugar. At this stage you can use a bamix to make it smooth. The cooking time literally takes about 40 or so minutes. However this way doesn't allow time for a deep ruby red colour to develop. I slowed down her process by adding some of the strained liquid. The paste is ready when when the mixture comes away easily from the pan. (like a paste - not liquid)
Empty into ramekins or as mum did into a plastic container. It is ready to eat when cooled.
|quince cut into wedges and allowed to simmer|
|fruit is soft and now drained|
|gently squeeze some of the liquid out|
|place into saucepan with equal amount of sugar|
|continuously stir...careful as you are dealing with hot sugar and fruit|
|poor into moulds|
|turn over when cooled.....|