Made with just three ingredients – quince paste is a traditional Christmas candy popular since the Victorian era.
Quince paste – also called quince candy, quince cheese and quince jelly candy – is an old-fashioned Christmas candy. It has a beautiful reddish color and tastes like a sweet version of quince jelly. It takes some time to make quince paste at home but it’s so worth it and you’ll only need three ingedients: quinces, sugar and lemon juice!
Victorian Quince Paste
‘If the full flavour of the quinces be desired, stew them sufficiently tender to press through a sieve […] in just water enough to about three parts cover them; when they are soft quite through lift them out, let them cool, and then pass them through a sieve;
reduce them to a dry paste over a very clear fire, and stir them constantly; then weigh the fruit, and mix it with an equal proportion of pounded sugar, […] and stir the paste without intermission until it is again so dry as to quit the pan and adhere to the spoon in one large ball; press it into shallow pans or dishes; cut it, as soon as cold, into small squares, and should they seem to require it, dry them with a very gentle degree of heat, and when they are again cold store them in tin cases with well-dried foolscap paper between them:
the paste may be moulded, when more convenient, and kept until it is wanted for table, in a very dry place. In France, where the fruit is admirably confected, the páte de coigns, or quince paste, is somewhat less boiled than we have directed, and dried afterwards in the sun, or in an extremely gentle oven, in square tin frames, about an inch and a half deep, placed upon clean slates.’ (Modern Cookery, 1845)
Homemade Quince Paste
- 1kg quince puree (about 10 quinces)
- 750g – 1kg sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
Wash and quarter the quinces. Put the quinces (with cores and skins) into a saucepan and half cover with water. Simmer the quinces until they soften – it takes about 30 minutes – then pour off the quince juice (you don’t need the juice for the quince paste) and strain the quinces through a sieve.
Combine quince puree, sugar and fresh lemon juice in a saucepan. Lemon juice turns the quince paste reddish – even if the color change isn’t as amazing as the color change of the Victorian rose jelly. While constantly stirring, cook the quince paste for about 30 minutes to 1 hour until very thick – it’s ready when a spoon drawn through the quince paste leaves a trail.
Spread out the quince paste on baking paper or an oiled plate. Let it dry at room temperature for 2 or 3 days. Then cut the quince paste into squares or diamonds and coat the squares with sugar.