Friday, November 4, 2011

Quince Candy 102...Success And Quincelets Are Born!

Quincelets are born!

Sometimes digging a little deeper to find answers helps.  After the dismal results from my first attempt at making quince candy I decided to look for recipes for a different type of candy that also uses fruit that I could substitute quince for.  Enter "Aplets and Cotlets".  It is exactly what I was hoping for and I am excited to say that it works beautifully.  So today I got busy reworking the recipe to fit the vision I had for this sweet treat.  I call the new candy "Quincelets", a spin-off of the candy it was inspired by.  So without further is the recipe.

Pre-cook fruit for candy preparations:
Peal core and dice 12 cups of quince and place in a crock-pot with 5-6 cups water (approximately)
Set on low and cook for 3 hours, more if you want the fruit to turn pink
Drain fruit and reserve juice for later use

Ingredients to make candy:
2 cups cooked quince
1/2 cup and 2 Tbs reserved juice (10 Tbs)
5 Tbs  plus 1 tsp unflavored gelatin (6 envelopes)
2 cups cold water
2 Tbs food grade rose water or ¼ tsp real rose essential oil
(**You may use 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice in place of rose water**)
2 cups coarse chopped pistachios sifted to remove fines and reserve. (There will be about 1/2 cup.)

½ cup pistachio fines (reserved from chopping)
6 oz Bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao)
1/2 tsp unsalted butter

  • Butter a 9”x 13” baking sheet (also known as a quarter sheet pan).
  • Place the cooked quince and 10 Tbs. reserved juice into the food processor and process it until it is smooth sauce.  Stop the processor and scrape down the sides.  Afterward if you want you can run the processed fruit through a wire sieve if you want perfectly smooth sauce.
  • Place the quince sauce in a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat to a simmer.  NOTE: Check the texture of the fruit and if it seems too course, like its not cooked enough, just simmer for about 15 minutes or until the fruit softens, adding an additional 2 Tbs juice (approx) and stirring frequently to avoid scorching the fruit.
  • Add sugar to the fruit, stirring until dissolved.  Take the pan off the heat.
  • In a small bowl add cold water and gelatin together and stir until completely blended.  Add to the fruit in the pan, stir constantly until completely dissolved.

Rose Water is magic!
  • Add rose water (or lemon juice) and stir well.
  • Lastly add the chopped nuts, mixing well and pour the mixture into the buttered baking sheet.  Set this aside to cool and set.  It will set in about 2 hours at room temperature and you can leave it to set overnight (recommended time).  If you are in a hurry you can place the pan in the fridge to hasten this process thought the candy benefits from the drying time of being in room temperature.

Mixture is poured and waiting to set

  • Once set cut the candy into 1” squares using a sharp buttered knife and place on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
  • Top with Chocolate and the reserved nut fines (see below).

Topping instructions:
Melt bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler over low heat, stirring until completely melted.  Spoon or brush melted chocolate onto candy and let firm up a bit.  Finally dust the tops of each piece with reserved pistachio fines and set aside until chocolate is hardened.

I chose not to roll the firmed up candy in confectioners sugar as the original recipe and others called for because when I tested it, the fruit began to juice and was messy to handle.  Also, I had considered using fresh lemon juice instead of  rose water because of the zest it would add and I have to say, I am very glad I chose the rose water. I tasted the fruit before adding it and my first thought was, "Well that's nothing to write home to Mother about."  Then I added the rosewater and tasted it and WOW!  (I swear I heard angles singing!) It adds such a beautiful layer of fragrance and flavor the only way to describe it is "pure delight".

I also wanted to give credit for the source of the original recipe I used as the template for this new recipe.  I recommend you visit their site as they also give a bit of history on the candy recipe which, by the way, was created here in the Pacific Northwest.  I found it very interesting and inspiring to see how a simple idea can become a classic favorite.  My hat is off to the fellows that were my inspiration. 

Quince 101 candy final results, acceptable

Before I forget, to close the chapter on that first recipe from the Quince 101 post.  To dry out the candy enough to be able to handle it I baked it in the oven at 200 degrees for 3 hours to further dry it out.  That made it stiff enough to be able to pick up so I coated it with sugar, put the pieces on parchment paper and stacked them in little trays where they await delivery as gifts. 

Another thing I will do differently is to be sure to run the fruit through a food mill or sieve before making the candy for a smoother finish to the product, a point two recipes I worked from left out.  The quince candy will make nice gifts at Christmas and does taste good on crackers with a good cheese so I still recommend making that recipe too.

Now that I have conquered the candy recipe I think I'll take a break from Quince for a while...but maybe I'll have just one more Quincelet before I do.

Copyright © 2011 by Patty Hicks
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