Blushing Quince Sauce with Dark Chocolate Shavings

I made something special yesterday: my grandmother’s Blushing Quince Sauce with dark chocolate shavings. I came up with the name, but I’m sure she would approve. It’s one of the most memorable desserts from my childhood, and one of the most intimidating, yet simple to make.

The quince fruit is often served in a paste form, accompanying cheeses. Not many people are aware that when the white flesh of the fruit is simmered slowly, it turns the color of pink blush, and it falls apart into a beautiful applesauce consistency. The fruit transforms into a versatile dessert worthy of both the most simple and lavish holiday tables.

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As the quince cooks, it turns a beautiful rose color.

You can eat this beautiful fruit sauce chilled, on its own, as if eating applesauce. However, to bring this dessert up a notch: rich, tangy dark chocolate shavings are the perfect complement to the delicate, sweet, almost floral flavors of the quince sauce.

If you aren’t lactose intolerant, drizzle a small amount of heavy cream on top of the sauce, before adding the chocolate shavings; this was customary when my grandmother served the sauce.

The smoothness of the cream and the delicate shavings of dark chocolate, combined with the sweet, fruity sauce, creates a heavenly experience!

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The ultimate way to serve this quince sauce: sprinkled with decadent dark chocolate.

Once you get the technique down for this dessert, it’s easy to vary the flavors to your liking. Here are some basic ideas to keep in mind if you want to vary the recipes I provide below:

  • You’ll need something sweet: experiment with various honeys and sugars.
  • You’ll need something acidic– not only to wake up the palate, but also to preserve the beautiful pink color of the sauce (I like to use lemon).
  • You’ll need warm spices: I like vanilla bean, star anise or cinnamon. These will be in the pot as the fruit simmers and softens.

I’m not sure where my grandmother came across the recipe, as I haven’t seen anything quite like it. She grew quinces on her farm and experimented with them quite a bit in her cooking. This dessert might have been the outcome of a happy experiment!

Below are two versions of Blushing Quince Sauce that I created for a family gathering this holiday: Star Anise and White Hydrangea Honey Quince Sauce and Vanilla and Cinnamon Quince Sauce. Both of these recipes are made via the same process, but are replaced with different sweeteners and spices.

You will want to adjust the sweetness and acidity of the sauces based on how sweet the fruit is that you are using. I suggest you start with the measurements of sugar, honey, and lemon that I use in the recipes below, and then add more if needed.

Star Anise and White Hydrangea Honey Quince Sauce

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Depending upon the ripeness of the fruit, cooking time will vary.

Ingredients

-8 quinces

-1/4 cup of white hydrangea honey (or any honey you enjoy)

-1 cup water (plus another cup or two for the cooking process)

-2 star anise

-1/2 of a lemon, juiced  

Directions

  1. Start by placing the water, honey, lemon juice and star anise into a heavy pot over a low heat. Let the liquid cook and infuse with flavor until slightly thickened into a syrup consistency.
  2. Peel, core and quarter your quinces, and place them into the syrup. Cover the fruit with a lid and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the quinces turn blush pink in color, and fall apart with the poke of a wooden spoon. This might take a while!
  3. When the quince pieces are soft, remove the anise, and then break apart the quince pieces into a chunky applesauce consistency with the back of a spoon or a potato masher. The quince pieces should be soft enough that they break apart with ease. If they don’t, leave them to cook longer.
  4. Let the mixture cool and then place in the refrigerator to chill.
  5. Serve the sauce chilled and shave on as much dark chocolate as you like!

Vanilla and Cinnamon Quince Sauce.

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Depending upon the ripeness of the fruit, cooking time will vary.

Ingredients

-8 quinces

-1/4 cup of white sugar

-1 cup water (plus another cup or two for the cooking process)

-2 sticks of cinnamon

-1 lemon, juiced

-1 vanilla bean

Directions

  1. Start by placing the water, sugar, lemon juice, and 1 cinnamon stick into a heavy pot over a low heat.
  2. Remove the seeds from 1 vanilla bean and add them to the liquid. Then place the whole bean into the liquid (this will be removed near the end, but it is great for flavor as the fruit cooks).
  3. Let the liquid simmer and infuse with flavor until slightly thickened into a syrup consistency.
  4. Peel, core and quarter your quinces, and place them into the syrup. Cover the fruit with a lid and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the quinces turn blush pink in color, and fall apart with the poke of a wooden spoon. This might take a while!
  5. Remove the vanilla pod and cinnamon stick.
  6. Break apart the quinces into a chunky applesauce-like consistency with the back of a spoon or use a potato masher to do so. They should be soft enough that they break apart with ease. If they don’t, cook them a bit longer.
  7. Let the mixture cool and then place in the refrigerator to chill.
  8. Serve the sauce chilled and shave on as much dark chocolate as you like!

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