Quince Quandry

I should start by saying my mother is a wonderful person. For no reason other than that she knew I wanted to play with them, she bought me a hefty bag of quince. A year ago, I wouldn’t have known what to do with them. Now I can’t wait for them to appear in the quick-sale basket at the grocery store.

Why?

Because of these.

IMG_1583

These deceptively rosy things are caramels. Quince caramels. And their flavor is out of this world. Fruity, rosy, sweet, slightly lemony, and very very addictive.

Thanks to the detailed wisdom of David Lebovitz, I am not longer scared of making caramels. These certainly aren’t scary if you have a big pot and a candy thermometer. That is really all you need.

The scariest part may be cutting up the quince. When raw, quince make a good substitute for a brick. I contest that you could build a strong, very nice smelling house out of quince. Cutting and peeling it is not so nice.

I use the method shown below, similar to the way I would cut an apple. The key is to use a sharp knife and keep your fingers clear.

The most time consuming part is wrapping the caramels when finished. You pour this incredibly hot, beautifully scented confection onto a baking sheet. Once it has cooled enough to touch, you begin cutting it into piece. Make sure to sure a knife dipped in hot water after every stroke. Otherwise you will pull the caramel instead of cutting it.

I then like to roll them into pieces like taffy and wrap them in waxed paper. You could also use parchment paper. I like that the waxed paper shows off how delightfully pink the caramels are. Feel free to share with friends or to hoard them in your home. I won’t tell!

Quince Caramels
Adapted marginally from Chez Pim

1 1/2 c water
3 c sugar
3 quince
4 tbsp salted butter

In a large pot, add water and sugar. Heat gently and stir until sugar has dissolved completely. Set aside.

Begin to cut quince into slices and drop directly into sugar solution to prevent browning. I like to cut the quince into 1/4″ slices but you can do wedges or cubes as you prefer.

Bring pot back up to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until quince are soft. This took about 45 minutes for me.

Remove from heat and allow pot to sit for several hours or overnight.

Drain quince pieces from syrup and set aside. These can be used in crumbles, tarte tartin, and more. See the bottom of the post for links.

Bring the syrup up to a boil until it reaches 240°-250°F. Remove from heat and stir in butter. This works best if you cut butter into smaller chunks and stir them in.

Once the butter is fully incorporated, return to heat. It is now bubble up even more impressively than before. Bring syrup up to 260°F and remove from heat completely. Allow the pot to cool for a few minutes while you set up the next step.

Linea baking sheet with parchment paper. Next time I might grease the parchment paper as well but I’m not sure if that is necessary. Pour the caramel over the the sheet and allow to cool.

Cut your waxed paper into rectangles, at least 50 depending on the size of your caramels. Then, using a hot, wet knife, slice the caramels and roll. Wrap and enjoy!

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3 Comments

Filed under British, French, Jams & Sauces, Misc

3 responses to “Quince Quandry

  1. Wow, I’ve recently discovered quince, and love the idea of these sweets, though I’ve never made anything like them and the idea of having a go fills me with fear! Which probably means that I should try… Thanks for sharing 🙂

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