Spiced Quince & Candied Ginger Chutney
Rumour has it, that it was a quince, not an apple, that Eve was tempted to pluck from its branch that fated day in the Garden of Eden… but personally, I have my doubts. For starters, I’d have assumed (or, in the very least, hoped) that particular place free of the frozen mornings and frosted grass that mark the arrival of quince season! Either way though, one bite would have been more than enough – the tannic taste of the raw fruit makes it completely inedible, and the tough skin is a veritable devil to peel…
Cooked, on the other hand, slowly poached in spices, or baked in a low oven covered in honey, quince becomes something else altogether – changing colour to russet red, and becoming fudge-soft in texture. Add cream or ice-cream for an easy dessert, or maybe try a Quince & Pear Crumble if you’re feel a little more energetic.
Quince paste in the form of membrillo, usually served with Spanish Manchego cheese, is a tapas bar mainstay, but this recipe takes things in more of a chutney direction with a subtle vinegar twang and warm spices. Extensive taste-testing recently concluded that it works really well with a runny chèvre, though feel free to put it through its paces by testing on other cheeses as well! Comte, Gruyere, Stilton and vintage cheddar were all runners up...
(Makes one small jar)
- 500g (approx. 1 large, or 2 small) quinces
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ⅓ soft brown sugar
- ¼ cup of candied ginger – finely diced
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
You’ll also need a glass jar
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Place the vinegar, brown sugar, candied ginger, and spices into a medium saucepan.
Next, cut the quinces into a rough dice of approximately 1cm, avoiding the tough wooden core. No need to peel, just cut them up skin-on, and throw the cubes straight into the saucepan with your other ingredients.
Turn the heat to medium under the saucepan and stir to combine. Once the liquid has reached a steady simmer, reduce the heat a touch, and let the fruit cook down for 30-40 minutes.
As it cooks, the chutney will darken in colour, and take on the familiar reddish hue of a quince paste.
Meanwhile, bring some water to boil in separate saucepan and sterilise your glass jar and lid by boiling gently for 10 minutes. Carefully remove to a clean kitchen towel using metal tongs.
Season the chutney with a little salt and pepper, stir to combine, and then taste to check the seasoning and spice levels. Also check the acidity, adding a little more vinegar if the mix is too sweet, or without sufficient bite.
When ready, spoon the chutney into the sterilised jar and seal. It’s best if left to mature a couple of days before eating. Once opened, store in the fridge, and use within 3 weeks.