It's quince season! My family have been very excited to see the quince sitting on the bench top over the weekend. To me they are the flavour and colour of autumn. They quite beautiful in a rustic sort of way, especially if they have some leaves attached to the stem, they have a wonderful aroma when they are at room temperature and they are simply delicious in lots of different recipes.
Quince are not a common dessert these days. Quince paste is usually seen on cheese platters or with glazed roast meats or in casseroles, but we don't see it served as a fruit very often. Every time I cook quince my father-in-law says that when he was a kid canned quince slices or pieces were just as common as canned pears and peaches are today. He remembers supermarket shelves lined with different brands of stewed quince. Over the years quince has seemed to drop out of favour with the Australian public, but I am not sure why. They really are a marvellous fruit.
I think there is a perception that quince are hard to prepare, or that they require a lot of time to cook. In some recipes, like quince paste or jelly, that is true, but you can cook quince very quickly in the pressure cooker. We served the quinces to friends for dessert on Sunday night. They hadn't had quince before and they all had seconds, even the kids (aged 7 and 4). If you haven't tried cooking with quince before, this is a good way to start.
How To Cook Quince In A Pressure Cooker
- 4 quince: choose nice yellow quince without any bruises
- 1 lemon
- Half cup water
- Half cup castor sugar
You will also need:
- Pressure cooker
- Bowl of water
- Vegetable peeler
- Sharp knife and chopping board
- Mixing spoon
- Gloves (quince can stain your hands)
Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice into the bowl of water. Put the squeezed lemon in as well. Quince oxidises (goes brown) very quickly. The lemon juice will help to stop it going too brown.
Working on one quince at a time, cut into wedges, remove the hard core, peel the skin off the wedges, chop into pieces and put into bowl of water. Do this fairly quickly if you can. They really go brown very quickly. I peel the skin off after I have cut the wedges and removed the core as it seems to get less brown that way.
Pour quince into a colander, remove the lemon, and rinse in cold water.
Put the quince in the pressure cooker. Add sugar and water.
Stir to combine. You can add some cinnamon, cardamom or vanilla at this point if you like.
Make sure the lid is on and sealed. Set for 20 minutes.
When it is done release the steam, open the lid and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. The fruit will still look quite creamy yellow when you take the lid off but after resting it starts to turn pink. The syrup is usually quite pink at this stage. If you have a pressure cooker that maintains a warming heat with the lid off you can leave it longer if you want it to turn even more pink.
Look at the lovely colour of the syrup!
Like any stewed fruit you can serve it hot or cold. It is lovely by itself, or with custard, or on creamed rice, or with Greek yogurt or with a slice of rich baked cheesecake. I love it on porridge in the morning. On Sunday we served it cold with boysenberry ice cream. Last night I ate the leftovers South East Asian style, with shaved ice, coconut cream and rose syrup. Heavenly!!