hollyvandenberg at hotmail.com
Mon Oct 9 13:02:48 PDT 2006
>I've tried that, but ended up adding so much sugar I felt like I was making
>candy. The paste/sauce even looked quite glossy, but still tasted like it
>needed more. If that was because the quinces weren't ripe, how do I know
>when they are? They never soften, and they smelled lovely, so I thought
>they were ready.
For a rule of thumb, I tend to end up with equal weights of pulp and sugar
to start with, or nearly so. Ripeness judging in quinces depends on the
variety. Those I have access to locally tend to get more golden in color as
they ripen, and their aroma gets even stronger. You're right, they don't
soften until they've downright gone off. By which point they ripening
process has produced enough pectinase enzymes that getting things to set is
a little more difficult.
It takes quite a while to get them boiled down. Plan on reducing the volume
by half or more, depending on local weather conditions.
I've made it with quinces, plums, apples, pears, gooseberries and
blackberries. Markham's "The English Housewife" has a paste recipe that
lists a variety of fruit that can be used. Elinor Fettiplace's Receipt Book
has the recipe for gooseberry paste.
The fun thing is that it keeps beatifully in an airtight container. You
could make some now with in season fruits for Twelfth Night gift giving.
More information about the Sca-cooks