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I chose this produce because it’s so versatile: with just one fruit, you can make a paste, tarts, savoury and sweet dishes – and there are recipes below for them all. I’d never had good quince until I came to London (I’m from Australia), and distinctly remember the fragrance of my first – I was working in the kitchen at Lyle’s in Shoreditch when head pastry chef Anna Higham made a quince posset (which was my first experience of this dish too) and served it with chestnuts. It’s also my favourite word to say in French: “coing” (pronounced incorrectly of course).

When shopping for quince, the scent is essential for picking the right fruit – I would always wait until the fragrance is just right and then order as many as possible. As some say, good cooking is just good shopping. 

First, make sure some strip club anthems are playing. This is essential. My preference is Doja Cat

What you need to get started

5 quince (if more fragrant quince are available and you have the space, buy as many as you can take.)
2l water (try to use filtered or bottled, if possible, because London tap water just isn’t that delicious.)
1kg caster sugar
1tsp ascorbic acid or juice from 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 90 degrees Celsius.

Add 2L of water and 1kg sugar into a big oven safe pot (you will need enough of this liquid to comfortably submerge the quince. If you need to make more just make more syrup using the same 1:2 ratio of sugar to water.

Bring this liquid to a boil and turn off.

(At this point you can add aromatics, like star anise, herbs, cinnamon, but I prefer to keep the flavour neat.)

Take 2L of water and whisk in ascorbic acid – this step is to stop the quinces from oxidising, which happens very quickly.

Peel, quarter and core quince (ensure you keep all trim) and place the prepped quince into acidulated water.

Once all prepped, lift out the quince and place them into your syrup.

Take the peel and the cores of the quince and wrap it in muslin or some sort of kitchen cloth. If this isn’t available just throw it in with the quince and we can sort through it after cooking.

Cover the quince with some parchment and place a weight on it so that they stay submerged.

Place pot into the pre-heated oven for 7-8 hours…you want them to be just cooked and still holding shape.

Once cooked and stunningly red, allow them to cool in the liquid.

From here, we can start playing around with them….

First up, a puree

Take the quince out of the liquid and trim off any core or seed still attached.

Place into a pot and cover with quince cooking liquid, then bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes.

Allow to cool slightly and then drain.

Place in blender and blend on full until a smooth consistency.

Adding more liquid will make it looser and easier to spread, which can be better for spreading on a tart base. Or keeping it thick can be nicer for a serving with your favourite roasted bird. Mine’s guinea fowl.

Also, at this point you can season the puree how you want – maybe you can find a nice quince vinegar, or just another sharp vinegar will be great.

Or you can use the puree in a truly magnificent quince tart

Sweet pastry

160g butter – cold, diced
260g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting and rolling
80g icing sugar
3 egg yolks
Pinch of salt

Let the butter soften slightly, and place in large mixing bowl. Sieve the sugar, flour and salt over the butter then gently work the mix with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the egg yolks and slowly incorporate in the flour. Mix until it all comes together (these steps can be done in a food processor or stand mixer with the paddle attachment.)

Turn out onto a lightly dusted work surface and bring the mix together as one ball, but do not overwork. Cling film the ball and rest in the fridge for at least two hours.

Unwrap pastry onto a lightly dusted work surface and roll out to around 3mm.

Lightly oil a tart case or ring and tray and gently lay pastry on, allowing lots of overhang. (If you feel the pastry getting too soft, place it in the fridge for 20 minutes.)

You want to press the pastry firmly into the corners of the ring/case so that you get nice sharp edges.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

Once pressed in, place the tart base in the fridge to rest for at least thirty minutes. Then after resting, line the inside of the tart with baking paper and fill with rice or dried beans.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the pastry is lightly golden brown, making sure to rotate the tray halfway through cooking to allow even cooking.

Remove baking paper and beans and return tart to oven for another 5/10 until the tart is completely golden brown.

Brush with lightly beaten egg white and allow to cool.

You can store in its ring, in an airtight container, and it can keep for up to three days.


240g butter – diced and allowed to soften
220g light brown sugar 
3 eggs
Pinch of salt
250g almond flour – I used 160g almond flour and 90g of lightly toasted blanched almonds which I lightly crushed.

Lightly beat the sugar and the butter, making sure not to overheat; you want it to just come together.

Add eggs, one by one, completely reincorporating the mix before adding the next egg. Then add salt and nut mixture, and fold in until it’s one consistency.

Place in a piping bag (or a container, if not using that day, and store in the fridge – it will keep for three days. Just ensure that you pull frangipane out to temper at least 35 minutes before use.)

To assemble

Cut quince into wedges. It depends slightly on the size of the fruit, but as a rule, I’d say one quince in to eight. Allow them to dry slightly in the fridge, which will allow them to keep a nicer shape after baking.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

Place tart shell on a baking paper lined baking tray.

Spread quince puree onto tart case at a thickness of around 2mm.

Pipe or spread tempered frangipane into tart (if the mix isn’t tempered enough, work it a little with a spatula to soften it slightly) to just below the top of the pastry shell.

Arrange quince into frangipane, fanning around the centre – this will allow you to get eight nice slices each with a healthy amount of fruit.

Baked for 50 – 70 minutes. The top should feel slightly dense. To check the cooking, use a skewer in the centre of the tart and if it comes out clean when removed (i.e. nothing wet sticks to it) then its cooked.

Allow to cool, before removing from the tart ring, and place on a rack to cool.

While cooling, take some of the quince liquid and reduce to a syrup. Allow that to cool and when ready, brush over the top of the tart.

Slice and serve with creme fraiche.

Or make a great quince jelly

Also nice to use with cheese or to spread on toast.

This is a very similar process for the quince paste but instead it uses the quince cooking liquid

For every 1kg, add the juice of one lemon.

For every 100g of quince cooking liquid, add 60g fruit.

Bring to the boil and simmer until the mix reaches 106 degrees Celsius. If you don’t have a temperature thermometer, place a plate in the freezer. Once the mixture has boiled for 40 minutes, take a tea spoonful of mix and drop onto it onto the cold plate. If the liquid sets up and doesn’t run, then it’s ready.

Store this in clean, airtight containers in the fridge.

Then there’s pickled quince

I love pickled quince. And it’s super easy – after all, the hard work is all done when you first processed the quince.

Drain however much quince you’d like to pickle.

You’ll will need enough pickling liquid to cover the fruit.

Take three parts quince liquid and add one part white wine vinegar (or the quince vinegar if you’re organised enough.)

Bring to the boil and pour straight over the quince.

Store in an airtight container and allow to cool, then store in the fridge until use.


The quince cooking liquid can be used as cordial: take one part quince liquid and two parts sparkling water. I also like to drink it with gin.

And, lastly, a quince vinegar

All the peel and trim that’s been left over from the quince can be added into a Kilner jar and covered in just boiled white wine vinegar. It will take on a lovely fragrance from the quince and will keep forever. Strain whenever you fancy it and use it with as you would a slightly sweeter vinegar. It makes a lovely dressing if you fancy dressing some leaves to serve with your plate of roast guinea fowl and quince purée.

What a fruit.

Jack Coghlan is a chef based in London. He is currently cooking at Planque in Haggerston.

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