These delightful sweets are made a bit like jam except that it is a very thick one, a quince cheese in fact. When set it is poured on trays and left to dry, then cut into small squares.
In England you may find a quince cheese, imported from France or Spain, and sold respectively under the name of pâté de coing or membrillo in good supermarkets. Some specialist shops sell this thick paste by the cheese counter wrongly named as quince jelly. It goes wonderfully well with some cheeses.
Wash the quinces, remove any rotten bits and rub away the down from the skin. Then put the quinces in a pan and barely cover them with cold water. From now on regulate the heat so that the water comes slowly to the boil and the fruit barely simmers. Depending on the heat I do this for 1 or 2 hours or until they start showing signs of softening. With my quinces, Meech's Prolific, I stop when the skins start splitting or else they quickly disintegrate, which mustn't happen. So whatever you do watch them while they very, very gently simmer away and remove them from the heat when softened but still whole. At this stage I leave them to cool in the pan until next day.
When cool lift the quinces from the cooking water, quarter them and remove the cores, this can now be done almost effortlessly compared with the raw fruit. The cores must go back to the pan for jelly making; just boil them for a while and then strain for basic jelly making.
Weigh the quarters, blend or mash them and put them in a good preserving pan with equal amount of sugar and the heat to maximum.
You must stir all the time otherwise it will burn - best done with a long handled wooden spoon and your hand wrapped in cloth. It will bubble and spit just like those volcanic mud ponds in the Yellowstone National Park. It is set when the paste leaves the sides of the pan. It takes about 10 minutes with me.
Pour into flat trays lined with a good non-stick cooking membrane) and leave in the airing cupboard until the top is very dry to the touch. Turn it regularly to allow the bottom to dry up as well. Do not use grease proof paper for lining the trays as it is difficult to remove at the end; the best performance, so far, goes to a Baco Cook-in Bag.
I leave mine for well over one month. When thoroughly dry cut into little squares or nice little shapes if you have got the moulds, wrap in icing sugar and store between grease proof paper in airtight containers.