Quinces are a lesser-known fall fruit that retains many “wild” characteristics. They must be cooked before being eaten, and their flavor is reminiscent of apples and pears, with some deeper floral and spiced notes. They’re in season in the fall in North America.
- 3 medium quinces (about 1 lb)
- 2 cups water
- 1-1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 tsp lemon juice
1. Peel the quinces and cut them into quarters. Remove the cores, and cut the quince sections into small cubes or thin slices. If you are eating them plain, I think the cubes are nice, but if you are using them in a pastry, the thin slices work better.
2. Place the water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the quinces, the whole cloves, and the lemon juice, and turn the heat to low.
3. Simmer the quinces over low heat in their sugar syrup for 1.5-2 hours, stirring occasionally to ensure they are evenly coated in syrup. During the cooking process the quinces will turn a vivid rose color, and the sugar water will reduce to a thick, syrupy liquid. Periodically test a quince slice to see if they’re done: they should be chewy and have almost a jelly candy texture. Overcooking will make their edges hard, so watch them closely near the end. If they don’t seem to be done and the syrup is looking very thick, add additional water to keep it from reducing too much.
4. Once the quinces are done cooking, remove them from the heat and let them cool. Take out the whole cloves before eating. I love eating them plain, and they’re also great on top of ice cream, or as a pie or tart filling.
5. Store Candied Quinces in their syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.