Crispy on the outside but soft on the inside, quince spoon sweet is one of the most popular autumnal recipes in Greece.
Originating from Western Asia, quinces once used to be the talk of the town eaten only by kings and queens. Nowadays, mostly known as the main ingredient of dulce de membrillo, the Spanish jelly that accompanies cheese sandwiches, quinces are difficult to find in grocery stores and farmers markets but once you see them, make sure to buy some as their flavour is intoxicating and impossible to miss out!
I have vivid memories from cooking quinces as a kid. Come October and my grandma would spend her evenings cooking up a storm of desserts and I’d happily be her little elf. She would rub, clean, peel and boil a fair amount of prunes, plums, grapes and quinces (all picked up from my grandpa’s orchard), before throwing them in big pots with sugar and other spices. They’d simmer and boil and the kitchen would smell wondrously.
QUINCE SPOON SWEET RECIPE
I N G R E D I E N T S
- 1 kilo ripe, golden-yellow quinces
- 1 kilo granulated sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch cardamom, ground
- 1 liters water
- 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
- 2 large jars with lid
- Rub the quinces with a towel to remove the fuzz and wash with water. With a vegetable peeler, peel the fruits and remove any stems.
- Using a sharp knife, quarter the quinces, remove the seeds and core. Cut each quarter in half to make approximately 3 cm wedges.
- In a large pot, add the sugar, water and spices. Bring to a boil, add the quinces and lemon juice and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Remove any scum and froth that has come to the surface and add the vanilla bean.
- Reduce heat and simmer for as long as it takes for the quince wedges to soften and get a bright orange colour (almost one and a half hours).
- Stir carefully, remove the quince wedges with a spoon and put them in a jar.
- Let the syrup come to a boil for 5′ (add less water if you want a thicker syrup) and pour it into the jars with the quinces.
- Seal the jars.
You can keep the unopened, sterilized glass jars of quince spoon sweet up to a year in a dry kitchen cupboard. They go perfectly with a cup of Greek coffee in the evening or with yoghurt for breakfast in the morning.