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Quince Balsamico Chutney

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My gorgeous, rich, spicy apple-quince chutney from a balsamico caramel base.

When I was a boy, I thought chutneys were born in jars. My first sighting of fresh chutney happened when I was 16 and travelling India with a cousin. A serious trip, all about linguistics, history and - already - gastronomy. One night we were in Udaipur and agreed, despite our tight budget, to induldge in a sybaritic extravaganza. We hopped on a small boat and it took us to a marble island in the middle of the lake, the Lake Palace. You have probably seen this building like everybody in James Bond: Octopussy. I believe the lake is gone for good because of climate change.

Now it's a luxury hotel and the mango chutney they serve, of course, is not bought but made in their kitchen. The meal made quite an impression - by far the most luxurious we had in India - and for years I would rave about it. They made their own chutney, can you believe that! would I tell my friends. Obviously, fresh chutney is better than store-bought one, but it took me even more time to realize that not only chutney is not born in jars, but you can make it at home.

After some successful mango chutneys I decided to cook one after my own mind. My ideas was to marry the quince's strong flavor to colves, pepper and cinammon with a touch of dark color and rich flavor from a balsamico gastrique. The result is a memorable chutney that will stand up to the strongest game pâté or the most delicate naan.

Please bear in mind that the pictures show my first trial for this recipe including some slight mistakes. Follow the printed words rather than the images.

Quince Balsamico Chutney
An original fxcuisine.com recipe
5 spotless quinces
5 cooking apples
1dl balsamico
100gr white sugar
500gr muscovado sugar
2 cinammon sticks
6 cloves
20 peppercorns
4 dry serrano chiles
2 bay leaves
1 root ginger 1 head garlic 150gr sultanas

Quince is a lot of work to prepare and they turn brown the moment you cut them. If you want to preserve the flesh's orange-yellow color, I suppose the only way is to immerge the dices in salted water with a bit of lemon juice. Here I just let them become all brown to get autumnal colors.

Dice the fruits, garlic and ginger. Here I left the garlic and ginger in large slices for added texture but you'll need to cook them quite a while to avoid unmanageably large chunks. It is safer to cut them in very small dices.

In the pictures below the fruits were cooked directly with the sugars but I would recommend you let apple and quince sweat in a separate saucepan with no extra liquid until you get about a cup of juice at the bottom of the pan. You can then use this juice in the caramel as explained below.


Take a large pot with either a copper core, a copper outside or a very thick bottom so that the heat will spread evenly and not burn your caramel in spots. This is less of an issue if you cook electric. Pour the white sugar in the pot. White sugar is easier to caramelize because the color change tells you how much it's cooked. With brown sugar you just never know. This sugar is used to flavour and color the chutney, not to sweeten or preserve it. That job is left to the muscovado sugar later on.


Cook the sugar until pale brown. Prepare the balsamico and some of the fruits' cooking liquid before you reach that stage because you will need to be quick.


Wait for the caramel to reach a pale brown color. On the picture it's only blond, you can safely cook it a few seconds more. Take the pot off the stove and quickly pour the balsamico vinegar in the caramel and mix. Add the cooking juice from the fruits.


This operation is called décuire - literally to uncook, and it stops the cooking brutally by pouring a colder liquid into it. When done with vinegar over caramel, the end product bears the almost medical name of gastrique. It is used to preare the glorious sauce bigarrade for instance. A chutney is basically a spicy jam with vinegar, so using this French technique adds both sugar and vinegar with the extra taste and color provided by caramel and balsamico. You will need to add more sugar and more vinegar later for the flavors to balance but this definitely adds a layer of flavor.


Pour the fruits into the gastrique. In the pictures the fruits are raw but I recommend you cook them separately before adding them.


Add the sultanas, garlic and ginger.


Add the spices and mix.


Add the muscovado sugar. This is an unrefined cane sugar with much flavor. On the picture I used plain brown sugar.

Cook until fruits are soft and most liquid has evaporated - about 60 minutes. You want the consistency of jam.

Put in sterilized jars with a tight lid and keep in the fridge.

Thanks for your attention and I hope you enjoyed the recipe as much as I did! If you make it at home I would love to get a picture or any comments.


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If you do this recipe at home please let me know how it worked for you by submitting a comment or send me a picture if you can. Thanks!


  • #1
  • Comment by asaf
Hello there.
I wanted to let you know that I truly enjoy reading your detailed
recipe. I cook for a living and still I admire your passion for food. I
dream of new dishes almost every night, I write menus for fun, I
absolutely love food and cooking makes me happy. I want to make an
ostrich terrine tomorrow. Let me know if you have any ideas on how
should go about it. I have a great way of making ostrich tenderloin, I
will send you some photos of it if you reply with your email. Where are
you located? Do you cook at a restaurant? Cheers, mate.-asaf
  • #2
  • Answered by fx
Thank you so much for your comment Asaf! I don't cook for a living but admire very much those who do, it is such a demanding job, long hours, hard work and sometimes so many other factors affect the final outcome that one wonders if one can make a difference. And yet, where does a restaurant go without a good cook? Where do you cook? Please do send me your ostrich tenderloin pictures to Francois@micheloud.com . There is an ostrich farm next to Geneva airport, rather impressive animals!
  • #3
  • Comment by ExLabordiner
Please, give me contact address (email or msn) of this site administrator... Thanks!
  • #4
  • Comment by Deborah Stratmann
I also loved read the the text and viewing the pictures. However, now I want to get this recipe to my kitchen without the use of computer. The format is not conducive to printing and I don't see a printer friendly version. Cut and paste !I am looking forward to tasting this!
  • #5
  • Comment by Creespalas4k
If not possible, crush or mash the fruit without damaging the seeds  how to make barley wine For cooling, add a re-usable ice pack and stir for a few minutes  info Learn how to capture the translucent beauty and glowing colours of gel candles with this easy-to-follow practical guide  how to scented candles make    The widt h is a standard width that all fabric seems to come in which is about five feet wide, roughly  how to make a sexy toga None of this needs to be very elaborate, but the tunic needs some closure on both sides for personal appearance
  • #6
  • Comment by Sandy Temple-Raston
Thank you so much for this marvelous website. You are the only one that I've found that is completely in synche with how I like to cook! Your photography is outstanding. I am  also a photographer and appreciate that I can practically taste the dish because of the beautiful color.If only there was printer friendly access to the recipe. It takes soooo long to copy it.  You are terrific, thank you again!  sandytdashr@sbcglobal.net  
  • #7
  • Answered by fx
Sandy, thank you so much for your comments! You are very right that printer-friendly recipes with Imperial and metric units would help. Some blogs like 101 Cookbooks publish textbook-grade recipes and I don't - yet.
  • #8
  • Comment by Danny
Do I spy cardamom pods also on your cutting board?
  • #9
  • Answered by fx
Danny, indeed cardamom pods go in there, but not too many. Thanks for visiting!
  • #10
  • Comment by Joe

I am a Canadian and am looking for a recipe to make Ostrich Terrine.  Can you help?

Thank You
  • #11
  • Comment by S D
Yes, yes, but what did you think of the chutney ?  I am about to try making it from the absolutely fabulous pale yellow quinces on my tree - they are the best ever.
  • #12
  • Comment by S D
1dl Balsamico ?  Can you please tell me the English equivalent measure of 1dl  ???

  • #13
  • Answered by fx
Shirley, 1dl is 3.38 fluid ounces.
  • #14
  • Answered by fx
Shirley, the chutney was delicious of course. Good luck with your quinces!
  • #15
  • Comment by Angela
I made your delicious chutney and took pictures too; have an email where I can send them? It looks handsome ;)
  • #16
  • Comment by leonoa
Hola, soy de Chile. En invierno los membrillos y las manzanas son abundantes. Tu receta quedó espectacular.

  • #17
  • Comment by María José
Muchísimas gracias por tu receta. Sólo he cambiado los chiles serranos por guindilla y he conseguido un chutney excepcional. Tengo un árbol de membrillos en mi jardín y ahora puedo aprovecharlos de otra forma más.
Un afectuoso saludo desde España, María José.
  • #18
  • Comment by maria rosa
  • #19
  • Comment by SwissCup&Co
Hello François,
(dites-moi si vous ne parlez pas Français et je vous écrirai en Anglais)
Tout d'abord, un immense bravo pour votre recette et les superbes illustrations!! Ca donne vraiment envie de la réaliser.

J'ai noté une de vos réponses où vous dites être à Genève, est-ce toujours le cas? J'habite aussi en Suisse.

Etant à la recherche d'une très bonne et belle recette de chutney de coings, je visite votre site aujourd'hui (27.9.2010) et je m'étonne que les commentaires qui y figurent s'arrêtent en avril 2010! N'avez-vous plus eu d'intéressés depuis lors ou bien le site en question n'est-il plus d'actualité?
Dans ma cuisine (et dans ma tête) votre recette est en compétition avec une recette anglaise Spiced quince and date chutney de Mark Hix. Je vais donc analyser les 2 versions et si c'est la vôtre que je choisis, je me permettrai de vous en dire des nouvelles! Bonne suite dans vos essais et merci encore de le spartager avec nous tous, les anonymes!
Bien cordialement
  • #20
  • Comment by Richard Tanimura
Some recipes are intuitively appealing. If you have cooked for any time, you can find something that says "Hmmm, that is a nice twist". I like very much the caramelizing of the sugar. I have done this in other recipes but never in my other chutneys. As Joyce wrote "Yes, yes, yes". Thanks.
  • #21
  • Comment by Claire Lewis
As it's quince season again I am making your quince balsamico chutney ... it is cooking on the stove & looks quite delicious already.. I will take a picture & try and post it to you.
It's refreshing to find a different way of using this beautiful fruit. Thank you!
  • #22
  • Comment by jill
will try your recipe, using quince from friend who was throwing them on the compost. I have already made quince jelly and quince candy (pate de coing) twice this fall so offered to make quinch cutney for my friends' holiday eating. just got back from paris trip where restaurant had foie gras and quince cutney (cutney de coing) on the menue;  so will cook up your recipe (and maybe freeze?) for christmas foie gras time; freezing perhaps better than sterilising which will probably destroy the texture of quince.  jill, strasbourg, france
  • FX's answer→ Quince on the compost - what a shame!

  • #24
  • Comment by Zdenka
Thank you for the inspiring recipe! I used only quinces (as we have too many of them this year) and added some rosemary. We had it straight away (still warm) with boiled smoked pork and mashed potatoes with sauerkraut, lovely! Thanks! Zdenka
  • FX's answer→ When quinces come off the tree it is nice to have one recipe that is not jam to use them up! Glad this worked for you.

  • #26
  • Comment by Regine
Hi, thank you very much for sharing this fantastic recipie.
I tried it yesterday and it turned out very nicely!
Since I only had some apples and no sultanas, I used dried apricots instead
and I like the result.
Thank you for this very nicely illustrated recipie.

  • FX's answer→ Thanks for trying this Regine

  • #28
  • Comment by Becky
I was given a bag of fresh quinces and would love to make your chutney recipe above.It is the best I've seen so far. Very detailed.My hope is that you can translate the recipe into traditional measurements so I make it correctly, i.e., 1 cup, 4 oz, 1 teaspoon etc. Thank you! Regards, Becky
  • #29
  • Comment by Louise Dickens
Made this chutney afew years ago when I had a glut of quinces. Was great. Now have surplus quinces once again so am making another batch. Hopefully it will just as good, although the quinces dont have such a strong flavour/smell as previous years.
  • FX's answer→ I love gluts of quinces, lots of nice recipes!

  • #31
  • Comment by susana
enhorabuena! La combinación parece muy acertada  y la exposición de la receta y fotos es fantástica. Precisamente he encontrado tu web buscando "experimentar" un chutney de membrillo. De momento he hecho de nisperos y albaricoques (exquisito), de piña y cebolla (me pase de cardamomo) y de ciruelas amarillas (demasiado acido); nunca puedo repetir porque siempre lo hago a ojo y por intuición pero me cojo tu idea de combinacion de ingredientes y ya veremos q tal me sale. Probablemente buscare una textura menos entera. Gracias por compratirlo.

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