Quince paste is not, by looking at its appearance, a pâté de fruits but more of a thick, firm jelly and by far less sweet too. The paste is also known in other countries as a quince cheese, and in Spain as Membrillo.
The Quince paste is known as the perfect accompaniment to cheeses, particularly the stronger ones such as a Ripe Brie. The sweetness of the paste balances out the pungent aromas of the cheese, so together, they work beautifully.
This quince paste recipe is in the classic style of Cotignac D'Orleans. A specialty of the French city of Orleans since the 15th century, this quince paste is notably less sweet than similarly prepared pates de fruits, or fruit paste candy.
Serve slices of the prepared quince paste with a selection of cheese, nuts, and fruit on a cheese board. The paste is also delicious with cold game meats such as venison.
- 4 pounds quinces, cut into quarters
- 2 quarts water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Zest and juice from 1 medium lemon
How to make quince paste:
Line a loaf pan or individual molds with plastic wrap and set aside.
Add the quartered quinces and 2 quarts of water to a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then cover the pan and cook the quinces until they turn very tender, for about 30 to 40 minutes.
Reserving the cooking liquid, process the softened quinces through a food mill. Add the quince puree and reserved cooking liquid, along with the sugar and vanilla, back into the large pan.
Cook the mixture over high heat, stirring constantly, until the quince paste turns pink and begins to reduce and pull away from the edges of the pan. Stir the lemon juice and zest into the paste and continue cooking it just until it starts to turn brown on the bottom.
Turn the quince paste out into the prepared loaf pan or molds and refrigerate them until the paste is set.
This vanilla quince paste recipe makes approximately 1 quart of paste.