[Sca-cooks] what do you do with Quinces?
lilinah at earthlink.net
Fri Jan 5 10:35:32 PST 2007
This is the first time i've heard of eating
quinces raw as a good thing. I tasted mine before
i cooked 'em, but they weren't a fruit i'd buy
regularly to eat raw.
From what i've read and heard, generally quinces are cooked.
Within "SCA-period" they're used many ways.
Probably the most common is some form of quince
paste, the fruit cooked with honey or sugar, and
mashed, and cooked some more, until it is much
denser than jam. Today membrillo (as it is called
in Spain) is often eaten with Manchego cheese.
Also, it was and still is made by the French
(quince is "coing" in modern French). And IIRC
there are some 16th C. English recipes for it,
too, although i don't recall what the English
called it back then.
But one can do other things with quinces.
When i bought a whole case of them way back, i
used about half to make quince syrup
(laimon-safarjali) from the 14th C. Arabic
language cookbook "The Book of the Description of
Familiar Foods" in early November 2001 for a
feast (i was Iron Chef Persian).
Then i used the other half to make chicken with
quinces in early December 2001 for a feast i head
cooked (the Beacons Gate Boar Hunt, this one with
a mostly German menu). Since i don't have a
commercial sized refrigerator, i kept the case in
a very cool, somewhat dark place for the month
between feasts. In that time, only two went over
to the dark side.
BOTH RECIPES FROM MY WEB SITE
Lemon-Quince-Rosewater Syrup Beverage
When I was shopping for ingredients for the
feast, I went to a Persian food store. I searched
the shelves in hopes of finding a (synthetic)
musk flavored extract or syrup called for in a
couple recipes. Much to my surprise, I found a
bottle of Lemon-Quince syrup from an American
Persian food supplier. I bought it to taste test.
It was delicious. My homemade syrup was even more
One part quince juice and three parts filtered
syrup, in both of which you have boiled pieces of
quince until nearly done. They are taken up, and
the syrup takes it consistency. To every pound of
the whole you add two ounces of lemon juice. Then
return the pieces of quince; they improve the
consistency. It is scented with musk, saffron and
rose-water and taken up and used.
- - - - - from The Book of the Description of Familiar Foods (Egypt, 1373 CE)
- - - - - pp. 442-443, "Medieval Arab Cookery")
2 dozen quinces
5 to 8 pounds granulated white sugar
juice of 12 lemons
several capfuls of rosewater, Cortas brand
1. Cut quinces in quarters. Core and remove
flower and stem ends. Cut further into eighths
(that is, each quince is ultimately cut in eight
2. Put quinces in deep kettle, cover with water and turn fire to high.
3. Pour in 5 lb. sugar. Stir well.
4. When liquid begins to boil, reduce fire to
medium and continue to simmer, stirring
frequently so bottom of pan doesn't burn.
5. Do NOT mash quinces. I did and it was a BIG
mistake. I did not get enough syrup, although the
mashed quinces were delicious.
6. When liquid has thickened and has become a
lovely amber-rose color - many hours later -
remove from heat and allow to cool.
7. When cool enough to manage, put a strainer
over a deep bowl, and begin scooping out quinces
and liquid. Allow to strain without mashing or
pressing fruit. Remove resulting liquid to
another large container.
8. After you've drained the quinces well, and
syrup has cooled, check the consistency and
flavor. It should be somewhat syrupy and have a
tart-sweet flavor. It doesn't need to be clear.
In fact, the original recommends having some
fruity bits in it, so you can add some mashed
quince at this point. If syrup isn't sweet
enough, put in kettle on high fire, add more
sugar, stir well, bring to boil, then reduce to
high simmer, and cook down a little more.
9. When syrup is thoroughly cooled, add lemon juice and rose water.
10. To drink, fill a pitcher about 2/3 full of
water and add a bit of syrup. Taste. Add more
syrup until you are satisfied (the commercial
syrup, much denser than mine, is diluted 1 to 5).
It should have a sweet-tart flavor, redolent of
quinces and roses.
Chicken & Quince Stew
30. A good food. Take hens. Roast them, not very
well. Tear them apart, into morsels, and let them
boil in only fat and water. And take a crust of
bread and ginger and a little pepper and anise.
Grind that with vinegar and with the same
strength as it. And take four roasted quinces and
the condiment thereto of the hens. Let it boil
well therewith, so that it even becomes thick. If
you do not have quinces, then take roasted pears
and make it with them. And give out and do not
- - - - - from Ein Buch von Guter Spise, German, 14th c.
To Serve 75-80
as part of a four course feast with with 22 dishes
25 lbs chickens parts
water to cover
10 cups bread crumbs
2 TB. powdered ginger
1 TB. powdered anise
1-1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
2-1/2 cups white wine vinegar
chicken broth as needed
1. Boil chicken in water just barely to cover,
until almost done. If still a little pink, that's
ok, as it will cook further.
2. Roast quinces at 300 degrees Farenheit until
tender, about 1 hour, and let cool.
3. Remove chicken from broth and let cool, saving broth.
4. Remove the crust from a loaf of white bread and tear up the white crumb.
5. Soak bread crumbs in vinegar.
6. When soft and moist through, mix with ginger, pepper, and anise.
7. Puree seasoned bread.
8. Dice quinces, discarding core and seeds.
9. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove
meat from bones and tear into bite-sized chunks.
10. Mix chicken and quinces with spiced bread
crumb mixture, adding just enough broth to
11. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until
mixture is fairly thick. Stir constantly to make
sure it doesn't burn on the bottom. Don't cook
too long or chicken will become mush.
NOTE: This tasted better than i thought it would.
I was concerned that the tartness of the quinces
along with the tanginess of the vinegar might be
unpleasant. I was also concerned that the
seasoning would not balance well. But it was
fine. Only one plate came back to the kitchen and
that was from a table of vegetarians.
There are plenty of modern recipes for quinces.
When i was planning to cook a family Thanksgiving
dinner, i found a number. Here are three.
posted as Eastern European Jewish
approx. 2 lb fresh quinces
4 c water
34 c sugar
juice from one lemon
1 vanilla bean split lengthwise
Cube the quince (don't peel).
Put all the ingredients in a large pan.
Bring to boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 3 hours,
until the quince turns slightly red.
Cool and refrigerate.
Gingered cranberry/quince sauce
12 oz (340 g) fresh cranberries, washed
1 large quince, seeded and coarsely chopped
a piece of fresh ginger, about the size of an
average woman's two thumbs, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp of fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped finely
grated zest of 1/2 lime or small lemon
Sugar to taste
Put all ingredients in a saucepan. Add enough
water that the cranberries just begin to float.
Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until
the cranberries begin to pop. Keep stirring the
mixture, occasionally pressing any remaining
whole cranberries against the edge of the pan, so
that they're all crushed. Check the quince; the
sauce isn't done until the quince has reached the
consistency of a crunchy apple.
The pectin in the cranberries will thicken the
sauce. Once the quince is cooked, it's done.
Serve hot or cold.
Cranberry, Quince and Pear Chutney
4 1/2 cups
With its depth and complexity, this chutney makes
a good alternative to the usual cranberry sauce.
1 2/3 cups verjus or white wine
1 cup sugar
2 cups fresh cranberries
3 large Bartlett pears, peeled and finely diced
2 medium quinces (7 ounces each), peeled and finely diced
2 teaspoons grappa or brandy
1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the
verjus with the sugar and bring to a boil. Cook
over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until
reduced by one-third, about 10 minutes. Add the
cranberries and cook until softened, gently
smashing the cranberries against the side of the
pan, about 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, combine
the pears with the quinces and remaining 2/3 cup
of verjus and bring to a boil. Cover and cook
over moderately low heat until the pears are
softened, about 20 minutes.
3. In a heatproof bowl, combine the cranberry
sauce with the pears, quinces and grappa.
Refrigerate until chilled.
The F&W Test Kitchen especially likes the verjus from Wölffer Estate
The above modern recipes are not mine. I found
them on the web, along with quite a few more.
If you do a search with the search parameters set to:
you'll doubtless turn up others.
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita
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