Quittenpästli: Quince Candy for Christmas

Cooking and baking for the holidays often involves pulling out those recipes you only use once a year. It’s the season for more complex recipes, with many ingredients or pages of instructions. In Switzerland’s canton of Zurich, a traditional Christmas recipe for Quittenpästli has very few ingredients, but requires lots of patience (and stirring!). I made this quince candy during the week leading up to Christmas and wanted to share the recipe I used, in case you have some time on your hands during the holiday vacation…

quince

The first time I made Quittenpästli (Pâte de coings in French), I cheated and added some apple to the mix. This worked, but the high pectin content of the quince helps to create a more firm candy, so I recommend sticking exclusively to quince. While the quince has an especially hard texture when raw, it thankfully softens up when cooked. This year, I used a recipe from the NZZ (Neue Zürcher Zeitung) blog, Nachgewürzt. (NZZ has unfortunately taken down the page with this recipe, but here is another recipe from Kochtopf in German, which I haven’t tried yet).

If you don’t want to make your own Quittenpästli, there are two producers in Zurich still making it the traditional way with quince from the canton, and using a recipe dating back to 1835. The Slow Food Foundation has recognized these producers’ Quittenpästli with a Presidium label, an international effort to preserve culinary heritage.

quince candy

We’ve already eaten all of the homemade Quittenpästli… I look forward to sharing more Swiss food and drink specialties, as well as culinary travel recommendations, in 2016. Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!

Updated: December 20, 2016

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