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Quince paste recipe

Quince paste recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Preserves
  • Jam

This fruity paste is a great addition to any cheese board. Try it at your next dinner party.

12 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 2L water
  • 2kg quince, unpeeled and chopped
  • 1.5kg caster sugar

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:35min ›Extra time:6days drying › Ready in:6days55min

  1. Bring the water to the boil in a large saucepan and add the chunks of quince. Cook for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash with a fork.
  2. Put the mashed quince back in the pan with the sugar. Cook for 15 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. The paste should easily come off from the sides of the pan.
  3. Pour the mixture out onto a tray lined with baking parchment and leave to dry for several days. When dry on one side, turn over to dry on the other side.
  4. Once dry, cut the quince paste as desired. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(3)

Reviews in English (2)

by KB

Like most Paste recipes, you need to be very carefull not to burn it. needs good heavy bottomed pot and LOW heat. worth it though!-07 Apr 2011(Review from this site AU | NZ)

by KevinW

A mere male at 71yrs, I was successful on the second attempt. The drying was carried out in the oven on a tray, covered in baking paper, temp. 52C , turning when necessary.Another use for the paste, is to cut into 1/4" strips placed on triangles of puff pastry long side towards you, starting slightly lower than centre back to each bottom corner, roll then fold ends to seal. Brush with egg wash sprinkle with brown sugar and bake until brown.-21 May 2013(Review from this site AU | NZ)

  • 2 lb. quinces (about 4 medium), peeled, cored, and chopped into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out
  • 2 strips lemon zest (each 1/2 x 2 inches)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar more or less as needed
  • 2 T bs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T bs. unsalted butter, softened
  • Calories (kcal) : 120
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 5
  • Fat (g): 1
  • Saturated Fat (g): 0
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 0
  • Carbohydrates (g): 31
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 0

How to cook with quince and two quince recipes: Quince paste and quince chutney

Once upon a time, in the good old days, everyone wanted to get their hands on some of these tough knobbly fruit. Quinces were a much sought-after delicacy, originating in Turkey, but you’ve always had to believe in a little bit of magic to truly discover their secret. Unfortunately the humble quince seems to have gone out of fashion, fallen from the tree as it were, to be usurped by its much tastier and versatile cousins, apples and pears.

But hang on a minute. Before you give up and turn the page to see what Murray Grimwood has to say this month about the state of the world, give quinces another chance. All it takes is a little heat and you will start to understand and appreciate why the Greeks regarded the quince as a symbol of fertility and dedicated it to the goddess, Aphrodite.

The exquisite fragrance of the fruit is the primary reason that it was celebrated in this way. Leave just one quince in a fruit bowl or on a windowsill, and it won’t be long before you notice a delicate fragrance of vanilla, citrus, and apple wafting into your kitchen. Fortunately when you cook quinces, they retain their delightful fragrance but the best is yet to come.

The real alchemy is all about colour cook quinces and you’ll watch the yellowy-white flesh turn either a glorious deep rosy pink or a muted sunset orange. Doesn’t that make you just want to race out and find a tree and stew up a few?

I am lucky to have a generous friend who has a beautiful old quince tree. Every year, Steve faithfully contacts me to see if I want any, and I say yes please! He gets a jar or two of jam out of the deal so it works both ways.

Quinces are often to be found on ancient, gnarly-branched trees in a neglected or deserted orchard as they’re not popular in modern gardens. One tree that I routinely check every year is in a horse paddock way out in the middle of nowhere on the back road from Motueka to Nelson. The horses make a half-hearted attempt at eating the ones that fall on their side of the fence, and the bees and wasps help out, but on the roadside there are always plenty just going to waste until someone like me comes along and picks them up.


Quinces are very high in pectin which makes them perfect candidates for jams, jellies and membrillo. However, they do bruise very easily. I have also had what look like perfectly good quinces on the outside turn out to be all brown and rotten on the inside. If they start to show any signs of brown on the skin, use them quickly or you’ll lose them.

Quinces are very nice just stewed in water or white wine with a wee bit of sugar or honey thrown in. Add a dash of nutmeg and you’ve just created something divine as far as I am concerned.


1. Historically, marmalade was made from quinces. The English word ‘marmalade’ comes from the Portugese word marmelada which means ‘quince preparation’.

2. Shakespeare wrote that quince was the ‘stomach’s comforter’ and it turns out that medieval quince sweetmeats were once regarded as both an aid to digestion and a preventative against sickness.

3. According to the Greeks, pregnant women who eat lots of quinces will give birth to highly intelligent children.

Recipe: Quince Chutney

The variety of chilies that you use to make this chutney will determine both the heat and flavour. If you like yours hot, then seranos might be the chilli for you. I like flavour and heat so I like to use habeneros as they tend to impart a deliciously deep heat that is more of an aftertaste than an assault to the palate. Makes 5½ cups or so.


3 large quinces
2 apples
2 onions
1 tbsp coarsely chopped ginger
2 chillies
3 cups white wine vinegar
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves

Peel the quinces and the apples, chop into chunks and pop into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Put the peeled onions and ginger in a food processor and blend, then add to the pan along with the vinegar. Simmer until the fruit is soft. Add remaining ingredients. Continue to simmer until the chutney is thick (approx 45-50 mins). Take out the cinnamon stick and cloves and spoon the mix into sterilised jars. Seal. Wait a few weeks before you tuck in to let the flavours mingle.

Recipe: Quince Paste (Quince Membrillo)

This is also called ‘fruit cheese’ or ‘quince cheese’, and is a very special way to preserve quinces. A Hungarian friend of mine told me once that it was her favourite thing ever because of its fragrant flavour, grainy texture, beautiful sunrise hue and the way it went perfectly with the goat cheeses that she used to make back in Hungary. In Spain, membrillo is typically paired with a cheese called manchego but I find it goes well with a good feta, blue vein cheese or a brie.


Place the quince pieces into a large pan and add enough water to cover. Add the vanilla pod and bring to the boil. Place a lid on the pan and boil for 30-40 minutes, or until quinces are very soft.

Drain the liquid from the quinces and transfer the quinces to a scale to weigh. Note the weight of the quinces - this is the weight of caster sugar you will require.

Place the fruit into a food processor and blend until very smooth.

Return to the original pan and add an equal weight of sugar.

Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves.

Continue to cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 1-1½ hours, or until the quince paste has thickened and has a deep orange colour.

Pour the cooked paste out onto a lined 20cm/8in x 20cm/8in baking tray and smooth the paste out evenly. Allow to cool and set, then cut into portions. Wrap each in baking paper and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 months.


  1. Peel, core, and quarter quinces. Wrap peels and cores in cheesecloth and tie into a bundle, then place with quinces, sugar, and 2 tbsp. water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and poach, stirring occasionally, until quinces are very soft, about 1 1⁄2 hours. Remove pan from heat, discard peels and cores, and cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 175°. Purée mixture in a food processor, transfer to a small loaf pan, about 8″ × 4″, and dry in oven until firm, about 15 hours. (Drying can be spread over a few days.) Serve with a sheep’s-milk cheese (like manchego) or an English cheddar. (Store in an airtight container.)


Gin Gimlet

For the perfect at-home cocktail, look to the three-ingredient English classic.

Quince Paste (Cotognata)

One autumn morning several years ago, I found myself at my local market in Turin admiring a crateful of bulbous pale yellow-green fruits covered in a sparse yet downy brown beard. With their obvious resemblance to the smoother apples and pears in the neighbouring crates, I realised that I had come across the quinces that were once so beloved by the ancient Romans and in Italian medieval and Renaissance cookery. An exchange with the market vendor confirmed my hunch.

“Si, sono le mele cotogne (Yes, they are quinces),” he said.

Perceiving my relative ignorance in all things quince-related, he added, “Non sono comestibili crude. Devi cucinarle prima di mangiarle (They're not edible raw. You need to cook them before eating them).”

Conscious of the other customers waiting, I bought them impulsively along with my usual autumn haul of fennel, leeks and valerian salad. And, as soon as I got home, I set out to research how I could cook this ancient fruit Italians past and present were so enthusiastic about.

A recipe from a Sicilian cookbook for cotognata, quince paste, immediately caught my eye. A modest treat today, this preserve, with its high sugar (an extremely expensive commodity at the time) content, was very much a status symbol and luxurious banquet item in medieval Sicily. The nuns who traditionally boiled these knobbly fruits down to a firm and aromatic paste would often leave them to set in terracotta moulds with crests or religious symbols on them. Intrigued by this preserve that didn't require tranferring scolding hot jam into equally scorching sterilised jars, I decided to give this recipe a go. I've been making cotognata every autumn ever since.

Just a few notes on preparing this paste. Many recipes will tell you to peel, core and quarter the quinces in their raw, lip-puckeringingly astringent state and I used to oblige. Recently though, a friend of mine showed me a less painstaking method simply boil the quinces whole until tender and then peel, core and quarter them. Much easier than trying to work with their hard raw flesh!

As a substitute for the traditional terracotta moulds, any non-stick or silicone moulds work well. I used my non-stick tartlet tins which gave my cotognata a flower-like shape. And just for the record, they had a diameter of 12 cm and a depth of 2 cm. I also made sure that I did not exceed 1.5 cm in depth when pouring the boiled down quince puree into them.

With regards to serving, it's common for visitors to Sicilian households be served pieces of the set cotognata rolled in sugar as an afternoon treat or dessert. I also quite like the Spanish way of serving membrillo, cotognata's equivalent in the Iberian peninsula, where it is often paired with Manchego cheese. Both options work wonderfully!

Quince paste recipe - Recipes

Quince paste (membrillo) is a beautiful, delicious addition to a cheese board and makes a perfect hostess gift, especially during the holidays.

Peel of one lemon, cut in large strips (no white)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

About 4 cups sugar (see instructions)

Peel and core the quince and chop into rough pieces, about 1/2 inch. Place in large, non-­reactive pot and cover with water. Add the vanilla bean and peel and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about an hour or until the pieces are soft.

Strain the quince and place it and lemon peel in food processor or blender. Puree the fruit and measure the puree. Return the puree to the sauce pan, add an equal amount of sugar and the lemon juice. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for another hour, until the paste is very thick and a deep red color.

Line an 8-­inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Pour the cooked paste into the pan and place into a 125 degree oven. Allow it to dry in the oven for 90 minutes. Cool and cut into wedges to serve. Store in the refrigerator.

Quince Paste

Quince grow in the same way as apples and pears on deciduous trees. They are not native to the United States, but they are grown in California. And they are not that easy to find farmer’s markets and boutique grocery stores are your best bet.

Unlike apples and pears, quince do not look appealing and with gray fuzz. That doesn’t entice you to eat a quince. And they do not taste good raw and could be difficult to eat.

But the pleasure of quince is in the cooking of the fruit. They release a delicious scent as they turn from light yellow to pink. Mixed with sugar and water or wine, quince transforms into a delicate treat. Besides making quince paste, you can pour the mixture over ice cream or yogurt or make it into a pie as well.

Health Benefits

Quince is a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants as well. This fruit aids in quick weight loss as well.

How to make Quince Paste

  • Peel and core the quince.
  • Cut into large wedges.
  • Place the fruit in a pot and cover with water.
  • Add the lemon juice.
  • Bring the water to boil and cook the fruit until it's very soft.
  • Drain and let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Process the fruit in a food processor or blender until it is smooth, about the consistency of apple sauce.
  • Measure the fruit and check if you have about 2 cups and place it in a heavy-bottomed pot.
  • Add sugar equal to three-fourths of the amount of fruit and stir the sugar into the fruit. (If you have 2 cups of fruit, add 1 1/2 cups of sugar.)
  • Add a pinch of salt.
  • Bring the sugar and fruit to a low boil and simmer, stirring frequently, on low heat.
  • Cook slowly, keeping the mixture barely at boil and stirring often to prevent burning, until the mixture thickens.
  • Continue to cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is a thick paste that stays together in a ball. The mixture should seem stretchy and almost dry. The fruit will change color and become a bright orange-red.
  • Pour into a lightly oiled dish and let cool.
  • Slice when firm.
  • Fruit paste will keep for several weeks, covered, in the refrigerator.

Quince is small tree that can reach 16 to 26 feet in height. Quince develops simple, ovate leaves with smooth margins. They are pale green colored due to dense layer of white hairs on the surface.

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Portuguese Kitchen: Marmelada

Have you ever wandered what to do with a quince fruit? One of these little beauties:

Certainly, do not try to bite into one. That would be no bueno, no bueno. I recommend turning them into Portuguese marmelada. This has nothing to do with marmelade as us Americans or Brits know it. In fact, marmelada is a quince paste and should be firm enough to slice into it.

Here’s what one of them looks like on the inside:

They resemble an apple or a pear, wouldn’t you say? But appearance is where the similarities end. I had never made marmelada, so I Skyped my mom for her recipe. She was happy to share, and my dad watched on… with his own additional commentary. The first thing he said was make sure and really remove the pit. Why yes I’d assume that was a no brainer. Of course I would remove the pit. Hmm… he really must have little faith in my culinary abilities, or so I thought. I tackled my five quince by peeling them and pitting them… depitting them (?) nor really sure on the proper term there. Unlike an apple or a pear, you can’t just use a paring knife to gentle glide around the pit. In fact, what you’d never guess by looking at it, is that the pit is surrounded by crumbly hard pit bodyguards. It’s almost like a peach pit when it’s started to get bad and falls apart easily. So needless to say, this step was way more time intensive than I expected, and now I know why my dad said that I had to make sure and really remove the pit.

Next up, the fun and easy stuff. Cut up the quince into 1 in cubes. My two pounds of whole quince fruit resulted in 1.5 lbs of quince cubes.

Then toss them in a pot with half their weight in sugar. I added 3/4 of pound of sugar. The last mandatory ingredient is water. I added just 1 tablespoon to my concoction. At this point in the conversation, my mom said, oh you could also add cinnamon. That would be good. How much cinnamon, mom? Oh you know, just a bit, says the woman who doesn’t use cookbooks and has all of her recipes memorized. Since I treat all cooking and baking adventures as science experiments, I took out my measuring spoons and added 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. That’s approximately a bit, wouldn’t you say? My dad being the good Portuguese man that he is said, don’t forget to add some Port wine. My mom informed me that it wasn’t necessary. Well, since my dad was already correct about the pit, and I listen to anyone who tells me to add Port wine to anything, I threw a tablespoon in for good measure.

Pretty! Now let this cook over Low-Med heat for about 45 minutes. You want your quince to be really soft. It will look all yummy, like this:

Using a blender, or my favorite immersion blender, blend the fruit down to a puree. Put it in a tupperware or glass container and let it sit out over night to set. I just covered my glass container with paper towel and let it do its magic.

As I already mentioned, once it sets, it should be firm enough that when sliced, it will hold its shape. The best way to eat this is with a little cheese and fresh bread. I only had cheese, but it was still scrumptious.

In the end, mine was just a smidge too soft. It still held its shape in the container when I dug in, but it could have been a bit firmer. I’m going to blame this on the fact that my mom said a spoon of water, and I interpreted that to mean a tablespoon and not teaspoon. I’m certainly not going to blame it on the extra Port wine that I tossed in!

In conclusion, you now have the makings for a delicious treat, and I need to remember to ask my mom for specific measurements on her recipes.

Marmelada Recipe:
2 pounds of whole quince (will become 1.5 lbs)
3/4 pound of sugar
1 teaspoon of water
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of Port wine