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Quince Question

  • k

How do I eat quince? Can I eat it raw? I found some recipes for jelly and syrup and stuff like that here on c-hound, but I don't want jam or syrup... Can one eat it out of hand, in a salad, or how? Thanks for your advice... And: Is quince paste (traditionally served with Manchego, as I read somewhere) really great? What does it taste like? Bring on the juicy prose...

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  1. I was lucky enough to have a couple of quince trees in the backyard of a house I lived in many years ago. As far as eating them raw -- they are VERY firm, and thus difficult to eat unless cooked. I am interested to see the other responses you get, because I am curious as well. I mainly made conserves with the fruit...heaven in a jar.

    1. I don't have any recipes for them, but I love them raw...You have to wait til they have a little "give" to them, then they taste like a sweet, yet astringent, dense-fleshed apple, with a touch of pear, and maybe a hint of bergamot...If they seem a little past the prime of an apple, they're ready to eat.

      1. Here's a link to two posts describing the appetizer at Julia's Kitchen at Copia in Napa.

        Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Thanks, although... I hate to sound ungrateful, but "The foie gras was prepared with diced quince and dates in a madeira reduction" is not quite enough for me to go on. I'm not a brilliant cook, and I doubt I'd go buy foie gras for this purpose. I need something a little more straightforward with quince.

        2. most varieties of quince have to be eaten cooked. raw, they're too hard and sour and will just pucker up your face - i've tried and my mouth is watering from the memory.

          there was a guy down here at the santa monica farmers market (los angeles) who had a kind that you could eat fresh but they were not quite ripe when i tried them so again the puckering and i didn't buy any.

          and yes, quince paste with manchego is a classic combo though while i love each individually, i don't know that either especially brings out the flavour of the other. i think i like the idea of the two together more than anything. the quince paste is very, apple-y, pear-y, fig-y. but any reason to eat more manchego right? and drink spanish wines - which are completely underrated by the way, really rich and full and cheap.

          if you don't want to do the usual american recipes, try baking/roasting them as you would apples with rich meats.

          and if you're ever in st. remy de provence, check out lilamand, known for their fruit confit - and a great quince paste. it's wild in their workrooms - they have huge open bowls of fruit covered in mountains of white sugar. you get a sugar high just being there - and the fragrance, better than any perfume. here's a link to their site.

          Link: http://www.provence-prestige.tm.fr/bo...

          5 Replies
          1. re: louisa

            Thank you! Great link... Even with my (very) basic French, I love this:

            "Dans cette véritable caverne d’Ali Baba, ces fruits du soleil deviennent alors merveille de douceurs, des gourmandises de rêve..."

            I think I'll memorize it. This, and the recipe from Simon Gittins, have made me very happy tonight. I'm SO grateful Chowhound exists.

            1. re: Katerina

              hi katerina,

              you're so welcome. and i'm so happy that my small effort made you so happy!

              and great that you read french. i forgot to mention it as i'm used to francophiles.

              and just in case, the quince paste is the "pate de coing". at lillamand, they didn't know the english word for "coing". then someone dug out a piece of fresh fruit to show me to which i exclaimed "quince"! it was a fun moment of international food relations.

              1. re: louisa

                Actually, Google now has (free online) automatic translators for many languages. I used it once I kind of figured out what they were saying on the Lilamand web site (sometimes a foreign phrase sounds so much better to you before you really learn the language; I should know, English seemed so sexy to me before I spoke it fluently; not any more), and then read it through the translator. They got Quince Paste right. But check out this prose:

                "Today still the greedy ones of the whole world find the way to come to discover the prestigious collection of crystallized jewels.

                In this true cave of Ali Baba, these fruits of the sun become wonder of softnesses then, of the delicacies of dream. These candied fruits, companions of the large desserts, large have-same desserts, are always a festival of the palate."

                Ah, those French. SO over the top about their food.

            2. re: louisa

              there are varieties of quince that can be eaten raw, but to mind taste they're not a shadow on the hard ones once they've been cooked.

              1. re: russ parsons

                Thanks; I was starting to feel like some kind of deviate for eating them raw, but after reading some of these easier recipes, I'm definitely going to try them....It is the most basic available at the grocery store that I eat raw...

            3. Growing up we had a neighbor with a quince tree and I found them too astringent to eat raw. The same for ones bought in a store. Usually they are poached in a sugar syrup to remove the astringency.

              1. s
                Simon Gittins

                There are a number of recipes for Quince in Claudia Roden's classic books on Middle Eastern Food (e.g. "A New Book of Middle Eastern Food", also "Tamarind Saffron"), both sweet and savory.

                A favourite way for me is halve them, put them in cut side down into a syrup made of 1 pint of water and 4 oz sugar. You then cook the Quinces for 20 - 60 minutes until tender. Once the Quinces are tender you keep on reducing the syrup until red and thick. You serve cold with the syrup poured over which turns to a jelly. I like it with a blob of marscapone or cream on top. It is very important to not to remove the pips - they produce the pectin which creates a reddish jelly. I first had this one Christmas in Istanbul and fell upon the recipe like an old friend when I saw it much later. It is always a great success when i serve it.

                By the way, I also have never encountered a soft quince. I usually get them in the Middle Easter grocery stores here in London and they are always rock hard. They are only available in the winter.

                1. Forgive my ignorance, but what is quince? I know quince paste is served with cheese. I think I've always equate it with dates. Is it a fruit, nut? What does it look like and taste like (in it's most common form)?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Wendy Lai

                    Well, you have probably seen it before. It looks like a huge, bright yellow, stone-hard apple crossed with a pear; and it smells delicious, perfumey and a little citrusy. The fruit has several small bulges near the point where the stem is attached. Quinces are pretty common at this time of year, Korean groceries have them, most higher-end produce shops have them, too. They are REALLY hard, I mean so hard you can hardly remove the seeds with a melon baller. (But then again, if you want to poach quince, which seems to be a good way to handle it, you shouldn't remove the seeds. See Simon Gittlin's recipe in this thread.)

                    Link: http://www.foodsubs.com/Fruitoth.html

                    1. re: Katerina

                      thanks for the picture! I guess I was totally off base, quince is not like dates :)

                  2. You can use quince in desserts. After you have poached them in sugar syrup (to which you can add a scraped vanilla bean), slice them and use them in a frangipane tart or in a tart tatin. They can be used alone, or you can also add apples. You can then reduce the poaching liquid until it's syrupy to make a sauce for the tart or reduce it a little further to make a glaze for the top once the tart is finished baking. You can probably find some basic tart and tart tatin recipes at Epicurious.com that you can adapt to quince.

                    Link: http://epicurious.com

                    1. Quince cannot be eaten raw-the texture is too tough,and it doesn't taste good-needs sweetening.My favorite way to cook quince is;peel,core ,and halve 6 quinces.Bring about 2 quarts water to 4 cups sugar and a vanilla bean,split and scraped to a boil in a wide pot.Add the quince halves and cover them with a circle of parchment paper or a paper towel-this keeps them submerged and assures even cooking.Turn the heat down to a very low simmer,and cook for about an hour-the lower and slower that you cook them,the better.When you can pierce them all the way through with a knife,they are ready.They are delicious with roasted game,cheese,and as dessert.