Quince cheese is one of my favorite things to make with this fragrant fruit, preserving all its amazing texture and perfume for months to come. The cheese has the most enchanting deep-red color, a result of the slow and gentle cooking process. It makes a delicious accompaniment to actual cheese, especially (and famously) Spanish manchego, or a ripe, blue-veined cheese, or a soft goat or sheep cheese. You can also try it with roast meats, such as pheasant or chicken, or with baked ham. I quite often melt a spoonful into gravy to give it a fruity sweetness.
Recipe excerpted with permission from Gather: Everyday Seasonal Food from a Year in Our Landscapes by Gill Meller. Click here to purchase your own copy.
For the Quince Cheese
- 2 1/4 Pounds quince, roughly chopped
- 2 1/2 Cups granulated sugar
For the Quince Cheese
Place the fruit into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or preserving pan and cover with water, so that the waterline sits an inch or so [a few cm] above the line of the fruit. Place the pan on high heat and bring the water up to a simmer. Place the lid on the pan, turn down the heat, and simmer for about 60 minutes, until the fruit is soft and broken down, and you’re left with something approaching a fruit pulp. (If you don’t have a lid, don’t worry—just keep an eye on the amount of water in the pan and top up if you need to.)
Once the fruit is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and allow it to stand for 30 minutes or so. Then, place a sturdy strainer over a bowl and pour the pulp out of the pan into the strainer. Use the back of a ladle to force the pulp through the strainer into the bowl. Alternatively, you can put the pulp through a mouli, if you have one.
Weigh the contents of the bowl and add two-thirds of that weight in granulated sugar. Clean the cooking pan, and then return the sweetened quince mixture to it. Set it over medium heat, and bring it up to a simmer, stirring or whisking regularly for about 60 minutes or more, until the mixture has thickened, so that a wooden spoon dragged through it reveals the base of the pan for a couple of seconds before the mixture comes together again. It may begin to bubble, but keep stirring and it won’t burn. Don’t rush.
Pour the quince into sterilized jars and seal. Store in a cool place (it will keep for several months) until you’re ready to use it.