Let me introduce you to the quince; an unassuming fruit that boasts one of the most intoxicating perfumes, raw or cooked. This pome fruit is shaped a little like a pear with a vibrant yellow hue. In Serbia it is offered as a welcome treat when guests arrive. I am sharing this indulgent family recipe, Quince Sweet Preserve with you as I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.
Mum’s Beautiful Cooking
My dear late Mum’s passion for cooking traditional Serbian and reinvented multi-cultural recipes (Bosa’s style) was a memory we all cherished. Even today, a family member or friend would comment about how amazing Bosa’s food was, full of flavour and always filling their plate to the brim. She would be laughing in the kitchen, singing along to her favourite songs and sharing her stories. I was probably around 6 or 7 years old where I can recall Mum cooking this delicious Quince Sweet Preserve. In Serbia it’s called Slatko od Dunja, translates to the sweet from the quince. Mum would often cut thin slices and eat the fruit raw while we watched a movie together, delighting in the flavour and texture of her favourite snack. As for my taste buds, well I tried it though it was too dry and a little bitter for me.
I remember helping her peel the fruit in the kitchen. It was that moment when the quince began to boil on the cooktop where I distinctly recall that intoxicating aroma wafting throughout the kitchen and into the bedrooms. A fragrance you just can’t describe; even more incredible than the fresh fruit itself. We had preserved many jars, hoping it would last until the following season. Well there was none left by the time Winter was over, he he. Of course, my brother and I would add a couple of tablespoons to our ice-cream, it was the perfect topping. After many years I decided to cook the recipe myself, here it is.
The quince originated in Persia and with the introduction of the ancient trade routes the fruit moved into the Mediterranean and worked its way to parts of Asia. Today there are around 15 varieties grown in Australia. This astringent fruit is dry and hard and cannot be eaten raw. When cooked the texture changes to a sweet and soft form. It has a wax coated skin proving to be difficult to peel in this recipe, hence why I boil it first before cutting. A quick note to remember, when you’re cutting around the core it is a little difficult so be patient. Some varieties may be a little furry though it’s easy to wash it off.
150g raw sugar (add more sugar if you prefer it sweeter)
3 small glass jars around 350g each
- Wash away the fur and wax with a scourer.
- Place fruit into a deep pot of water and bring to the boil.
- Remove off heat and run cold water over the fruit for a minute.
- Peel and core the fruit. Beware when coring as it may be hard to remove. I used a sturdy short blade knife for coring.
- Cut the fruit into 2cm pieces.
- Place sugar with 4 cups water and bring to the boil.
- Turn down the heat to medium, add fruit and cook for approx 10 minutes until it can be pierced with a toothpick.
- Add lemons and cook for a further 3 minutes, don’t over cook.
- Spoon into clean jars and place in a cool dry place until opeining then refrigerate.
This Quince Sweet Preserve can be enjoyed alone or maybe as an ice-cream topping, perhaps swirled through your creamy porridge or add it to your charcuterie board. The flavour is absolutely incredible. I hope you all enjoy making this recipe and if you have any questions feel free to share in the comments below. Perhaps you may wish to share your quince story with our wonderful followers on Instagram and Facebook. Thank you Mum for all those wonderful moments we shared in the kitchen. I love you and will always continue to share your delicious food with friends and family. Tears roll as I write this.