Quince cubes are actually quince paste cut in cubes and rolled in coarse sugar as you might have guessed :)
Quince paste is a very classical French countryside recipe. Where I come from (Burgundy) most families make quince paste in September.
One very important thing to say before I start is that quince cubes or paste is a by-product of quince jelly. You never make quince paste on its own. Or at least not in my family where nothing is ever chucked!
The jelly and the paste is the same recipe. Each product is a step of it. As the quince paste requires you to cook the quinces is water and you can use this water as a base for quince jelly, you always make both. It would be a bit sad to discard this beautiful juice when all you need is to boil it with sugar to get many jars of jelly/jam you can keep for months.
So, to start with, you will make a QUINCE JELLY (click on the link to access the recipe) which is simply: rinse the quinces, cut them in 4 and boil them for 40 mins.
From there, you can either make a quince jelly or chuck the juice and follow the steps I am going to describe here.
You have pressed the quinces slightly in the sieve to express as much juice as you can without getting any white matter in your clear juice. Then you will use a food grinder or a puree maker to express the pulp of the fruits without getting the hard bits or the pips.
With a spatula, regularly push the mashed fruits back near the twisted metal under which they will be pressed. Use the milling disk with the smallest holes to avoid getting the hard parts in you paste.
When you have finished, weigh the puree which looks a bit beige. Weigh the same amount of sugar. Put in a large pot and cook on medium for 45 minutes… Yep… It is long and it will spit at you if you do not turn regularly. This is where a Thermo-machine such as Thermomix or Tefal Cook Companion comes in handy.
You can see the little volcano on the photo above :) It’s deadly, don’t let it happen and jump on you, it is very hot and can burn your skin. Stir non stop. You see also that the colour of your paste is getting darker and darker.
After the 45 mins, tip the past in a square dish lined with baking paper (parchment) and let it rest overnight.
The next day, cut cubes of the paste with a sharp and long knife then tip the cubes in a bowl filled with a cup of coarse or caster sugar.
- 4 large quinces or more
- X amount of caster sugar (same weight as the fruit puree you obtain)
- half a lemon juiced
- 1 cup of coarse sugar (or caster sugar)
- Rinse quickly the quinces without rubbing.
- Cut them in 4.
- Put them in a large pot. Cover with water (just enough water to just cover the tip of the quinces' cubes)
- Bring to the boil in the covered pot and leave it to simmer for 40 mins.
- Tip the quinces in a fine sieve (using a cheese cloth if you want a crystal clear jelly which I don't) over a large bowl.
- Press a little on the quinces (with your hands if they have cooled or a ladle if hot). Do not press too much, you don't want to get white stuff in your pretty juice.
- This is where you will follow the Quince Jelly recipe. (link on the blog).
- Now, to make the paste you only use the remaining quinces (not the juice). You will have to puree them batch by batch with a food grinder with a fine milling disk.
- Weigh the puree and weigh the same amount of sugar.
- Tip both sugar and puree in a pot (the same unwashed you used for the jelly if you made any) and cook on medium for 45 mins stirring all the time to avoid little volcano projecting boiling hot paste in your face...
- The paste will change colour and after 45 mins it will start to stick together and stick less to the pot.
- This is time to prepare a rectangular dish lined with baking paper (parchment) and tip the paste in it.
- With a spatula, even the paste in the dish.
- Let it rest overnight in the fridge or at room temperature.
- The next day, on a silicon mat or your bench top, heavily sprinkle coarse sugar (or caster sugar) , tip the paste and cut cubes (strips and then cut each strip in cubes.
- Tip the cubes in a bowl with a cup of caster sugar. Coat them well.
- Voilà !