03 November 2009

Now, That's Quince Enough!

I fear my blog is slowly looking as if I am trying to win the 'quince queen 2009' award. Relax, I am not. Even better, I have used up my last dozen quinces, so this is the final entry on this particular fruit - for this year! Although, there are a few interesting recipes I have not tried yet...

My last two quince recipes are complementary in that one uses quince juice, the other the pulp. I have made quince wine and a coconut-quince sweetmeat. For both recipes, you will have to grate 12 quinces and boil them in 2 liters of water for ca. 30 minutes. Strain, preserving both juice and grated fruit.

Quince Wine

Dissolve 475 g of sugar in 2 liters of warm quince juice and add the juice of one lemon. Leave to cool, when cold, add a slice of hot toast on which you have spread a little fresh (baker's) yeast. Cover the pan and leave for 24 hours.

Fermentation should have started now. Bottle but do not cork or leave in its pan with the lid slightly open, and leave to ferment for another week. It is important not to cover the wine, while the yeast is spliting sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide - the latter needs space to expand and escape.

My wine is still fermenting, so please read this entry again in a few days and I will tell you how to proceed. The original recipe, see below, keeps the wine in a demijohn for 7 to 8 months. At the current stage, my quince wine smells and tastes very much like new wine and may therefore be drunk young. I'll keep you posted.

Fermentation Diary:
Day 1: the liquid is very frothy; very sweet, like juice.
Day 2: less visible froth; marginally less sweet, slightly bubbly. Very much like new wine.
Day 3: stronger quince flavour, more astringent; still quite sweet and low in alcohol.
Day 4: quince flavour more pronounced, less sweet and more alcoholic - it's turning into wine!
Day 5: caught it in an active phase, fizzy and yeasty.
Day 6: it has turned into wine! Might be ready for bottling but I will give it one more day and see.

Recipe from: http://www.greenchronicle.com/recipes/quince_wine.htm

Coconut-Quince Sweetmeat

Trying to decide which, of the many I tried, is my favourite quince recipe, I have come to the conclusion that, to me, the ideal quince dish must be along the lines of sweet, candied fruit. I love quince cheese, and the grated quince jam was a major success, too. As quinces are very overpowering, I prefer to eat small, sweet morsels. So I came up with this idea for a quince-coconut sweetmeat. Don't be put off by the colour of the fruit preparation, the muscovado sugar, turns it an unbecoming shade of brown but this will be covered up with a dark chocolate coating. Another delicious, home-made gift no one can resist!

1 kg soft-boiled, grated quince
1 kg muscovado sugar
200 g desiccated coconut
Dark chocolate (coating)

In a large pan, mix together all ingredients safe the chocolate and bring to a boil, all the while stirring. Boil and stir until the mixture is noticeably drier and begins to thicken. Line a baking tray with parchment and spread out the fruit mixture to a thickness of ca. 1 cm, pushing it into a large, compact square. Given the raspy structure it is important to compact it or it will easily disintegrate. I kept pushing one side after another with the blade of a long knife; a dough scraper would work just as well.
Dry in a low oven, two hours at 75 C should do the job. Leave to cool, turn upside down onto a fresh sheet of parchment and leave to dry until no longer sticky. You may want to put it into a low oven again or jut leave it out, uncovered, over night. Cut up into roughly even squares, and coat with melted chocolate.
chocolate-covered and plain

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