Saturday, November 12, 2011

Spiced Quince Butter

Since first happening on quinces at Clarkdale Fruit Farms a few years ago, I have made this quince butter every November. It is astoundingly good. I like it on toast, but it's also great in jam print cookies or in almost any dessert recipe where you might use jam. Also excellent with a bit of aged cheddar or some goat cheese.

I make this in the pressure cooker, adapting a recipe from Deborah Madison's Local Flavors cookbook. But you could also do it on the stovetop - it will just take longer. Quinces are a very hard fruit and take longer to cook than their cousins, apples and pears.

This recipe is suitable for canning, which is what I do with it each year. The quince butter will also keep for many weeks in the fridge, perhaps months if you put it straight into a clean jar and let it seal itself as the butter cools in the refrigerator. Or you can freeze it.

4 cups cut up quinces, peeled and seeded and any bad parts cut out
1/2 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar (or to taste)

Place the quince pieces, water, cinnamon stick, ginger, and nutmeg in the pressure cook. Bring to pressure, then cook for 15 minutes. Once the cooker comes up to pressure, lower the heat until it is just enough to maintain pressure, to avoid burning the quinces. After 15 minutes, remove from heat and let pressure release naturally.

Remove the cinnamon stick from the cooked quince. Mash the fruit thoroughly or run it through a food mill or blender to make it smooth. Add sugar and simmer over low heat until it reaches a nice jammy consistency.

Pour into jars, then refrigerate, freeze, or can.

Makes 3-4 cups.

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