Quince Compote

Quince Compote 01
Yield: 4-6 servings

Time: 3 ½ hours

A  compote of quince slices stewed in quince-sugar juices and served at room temperature. Quinces are old-fashioned fruits, yet still very much in vogue and this is an old fashioned recipe. Don’t worry about the 3 1/2 hours preparation time. Most of it is spent slowly cooking the peels and cores of the quinces to get the poaching liquid.

Have you ever wondered what quinces look like? Below is a photo of the quinces in our friends’ garden in the Provence. They grow on a rather smallish tree which carries an enormous amount of fruits. In Brazil quinces are called ‘”Marmelos” – we had one in our backyard. Quinces paste, quince jam and quince compote were staples at home as they are in many rural households in Southern Brazil. The word “Marmelade” actually has its origins in the Portuguese “Marmelada” meaning jam of the “Marmelo”.


  • 4 ½ lbs (2 kg) quinces, cut into ½ inch (1 cm) slices
  • 1 ¾ lbs (800 g) sugar
  • 10 cloves
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 Tbsp rum
Quince Compote 02
A fresh harvest of quinces


Wash, peel and core the quinces. Quinces are very hard and it is quite a work to peel them with a sharp knife. Save the peels and cores, we will need them later. They are used for the poaching liquid. Cut the quinces into roughly 1/2 inch (1 cm) slices. Don’t cut them too thin. Put them in a pot together with 1 ¼ lbs (560 g) sugar. Add the lemon juice. Let them rest until the cores and peels have been cooked.

Put the cores and peels in a pot with the rest of the sugar and the cloves and cover them with water. Let them simmer gently for about 3 hours. Pass the peels and cores through a fine sieve. The poaching liquid will be used later for cooking the slices, you should have about 4 cups (1 liter) of it left. If it turns out to be less add some water or white wine to arrive at the 4 cups (1 liter).

Add the sugared quince slices and cook them over a low flame about 20-30 minutes, trying at times with a fork if they are tender. They should not fall apart. Add the rum and let it cool.

Serve it as a dessert warm or chilled. It will keep for more than a week. If you want to be fancy add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or Crème Fraiche. Voilà – enjoy!

Quince Compote 03
Quince Tree

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