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Neither pear nor apple, the quince is a kissing cousin to both, less accessible, for sure, but also more intriguing. As my grandmother would have advised, you have to look past the appearance of this lumpy, plain Jane tree fruit, and also beyond its raw taste, which is, frankly, nothing special. But apply a little heat and quince cooks into something marvellous – subtle and sweet, with great acidity, floral undertones and a heavenly perfume. Quince comes into season for a just a blissful number of weeks in late fall, just begging to be taken home and shown a little love. Indulge them.
Try this recipe for a chunky, sweet-and-sour condiment for chicken or game meat. Or even just a grilled cheese sandwich.
Although its flesh is pale, quince turns a vibrant, rosy-orange colour when cooked into this aromatic jelly. It’s delicious on toast, but a cheeseboard might be the very best way to showcase this beauty. (Recipe here.)
Quince tarte tatin
This tart is a perfect application for quince because the fruit can be cooked to a deeply golden caramel without ever losing its texture.