If you like apple butter, this spicy quince-based variation will also please your taste buds. The brown sugar deepens its color and flavor with caramel notes. Use it on toast, scones or pancakes, or spread a thin layer on crackers and top with brie, cheddar or Manchego cheese.
For a terrific appetizer, check out our Prosciutto Rolls with Quince and Chevre.
Place the apple cider and lemon juice in a heavy-bottomed pot. Cut the quince into small dice and add them to the cider mixture as you go along to keep them from turning brown. Cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer until the quince are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. You want the fruit to turn to mush. If the liquid evaporates before the quince is tender, add 1/4 cup water, or as needed.
Pass the mixture through a food mill or purée in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return the quince purée to a clean saucepan and add the brown sugar, star anise and salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low to maintain a slow simmer; cook, uncovered, until the mixture thickens and reduces to about 1-1/2 cups, about 60 to 90 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning, especially in the final stages.
Transfer the quince butter to sterilized glass jars and seal. Process in a water bath according to manufacturer's instructions. If you're not canning, seal the jars with a clean lid and store the quince butter in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.