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Quince Paste
from the kitchen of Teresa Trent-Panza

4 12 pounds ripe quinces, poached
5 12 cups white sugar
Water to cover

Wash, peel and core the quinces. Reserve the cores and peels.
Coarsely chop the flesh and transfer the fruit to a large saucepan.
Wrap the cores and peels in cheesecloth, tie the bag with kitchen
string and add the bag to the pan. (The peels contain most of
the fruit's pectin, which contributes to the firmness of the
quince paste.)

Fill the pan with enough water to cover the quinces and boil,
half-covered, for 30 to 40 minutes or until the fruit is very
soft. Remove the bag of peels and pass the quince flesh through
a sieve or food mill. (For best results, don't use a food processor
as it will result in too fine a texture.) You should have about
2 12 pounds of fruit pulp.

Transfer the quince pulp back to the saucepan and add the sugar
(ideally, you should add the same amount of sugar, by weight, as
the fruit pulp but this can be modified). Cook and stir over low
heat until the sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking for about 1 12
hours, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until the paste
becomes very thick and has a deep orange color. Draw the wooden
spoon along the bottom of the saucepan; it should leave a trail
and the quince mixture sticks to the spoon.

Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish or line it with greased
parchment paper. Transfer the quince paste to the baking dish,
spreading it about 1 12 inch thick. Smooth the top and allow
it to cool.

Dry the paste on your lowest oven setting, no more than 125º F
(52º C), for about 1 12 hours. Allow the quince paste to cool
completely before slicing. (In Europe, the traditional method
of drying the quince paste is to leave it in a cupboard for about
7 days. The remaining juices will continue to evaporate and render
a drier paste.)

Store quince paste in an airtight container in the refrigerator;
the color will deepen with age.

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