Tag Archives: Quinces

AUTUMN FRUIT and baked quinces

And this is just some of the Autumn fruit (Victoria, Australia)!  Last week, I bought two other types of my favourite autumn fruit, Figs and Persimmons.

The Prickly Pears  were still around a few weeks ago.

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This week, I bought the Quinces from the Queen Victoria Market, the Pomegranates were dropped off by one of my friends and the next day another friend and neighbour left a bag of the Feijoas (the egg-sized green fruit) and the Strawberry Guavas (the small, round deep magenta coloured fruit)  on my doorstep. All things considered, it was not a bad week.

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I am familiar with all of the fruit except the Strawberry Guavas, soft fruit that taste like strawberries and roses and as aromatic as the Feijoas, that I also love. I first ate Feijoas in New Zealand.

I like to eat these two fruit just as they are.

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Pomegranates are fairly well established in Australia and the ruby moist seeds can be just popped in your mouth to eat, or to juice or use raw in cold food or in cooking, from savoury to sweet dishes.

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Persimmons can also be used in cuisine in savoury and sweet dishes, but once again I just like them as they are – both the vanilla variety  or the squashy ones.

The Quinces are cooked, although I must admit that I also like to nibble on raw Quinces when I cut them to cook. Once again, Quinces are used in both savoury and sweet dishes. Cotognata (quince paste) and Quince jelly are pretty common in Australia but they are mostly eaten baked.

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For someone who writes recipes, i never follow recipes. I get inspired by recipes and then do my own thing, so every time I bake Quinces I do something different.

However, some components are important.

Sweetening is important so I may use sugar, honey, jam or jelly.

I use some sort of acid – wine, oranges, limes or lemons.

Partly finished bottles of alcoholic beverages get drained in there at times, this could be all types of liqueurs, spirits, or wine and sprit based aperitivi (aperitifs) or digestivi (digestives).

Flavourings, like cinnamon or mace bark, star anise, cloves, fennel seeds, bayleaves, black peppercorns. Use water as well as wine –  the proportions are up to you.

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In this batch I used water, white wine, Fejoia jelly (a friend made and I had in my pantry for a while), cinnamon, star anise, cloves, lemon slices and bay leaves.

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Scrub the Quinces first, then quarter them. I do not remove anything – I leave the seeds, membranes and the skins – these miraculously transform the juice into jelly. The liquid should come up to half way up the fruit because they are cooked for along time – 2 hours at 170C. I covered the fruit with foil and took it off about 15 minutes before finishing time.

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This is the result, and I can assure you that the fragrant smell will linger for days in your kitchen.

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More recipes for Quinces:

A Tale about QUINCES

AUTUMN FRUIT Cumquats (Kumquats) and Quinces

MOSTARDA and COTOGNATA – Sweets in Moulds

PRICKLY PEARS Fichi d’India and a paste called Mostarda

MOSTARDA and COTOGNATA – Sweets in Moulds

When I was a child growing up in Trieste at a particular time of the year my father and I would go to the railway station and collect a parcel, sent by relatives in Ragusa, Sicily. In it were irregular, round and oval shapes of cotognata and mostarda – not something that could be found in Trieste.

Many are familiar with cotognata, quince paste that in Australia seems to have become very common on cheese platters. I have never eaten it with cheese in Sicily. Cotognata it is a sweet that has a relatively long shelf life and is traditionally kept for those times when unexpected visitors arrive. One cannot make a brutta figura and have nothing available at home to offer to guests.

A few of you may be familiar with mostarda but perhaps what you are thinking of is mostarda of Cremona, mustard fruits in mustard oil and sugar and traditionally served with bollito misto di carne (a variety of boiled meats). Cremona is not in Sicily. Or you may have known mostarda as an ingredient for pumpkin tortelli (large tortellini – pasta pillows, similar to ravioli). This mostarda is generally made with quince.

The Sicilian mostarda is similar and eaten in the same way as cotognata but it is made with grape must, wood ash, citrus zest and cornstarch. Some add almonds or pine nuts and raisins (as in the recipe by the goddess of all Sicilian recipes, Mary Taylor Simeti).

Others add cinnamon, nutmeg and/or cloves.

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The ingredients are cooked until the must becomes thick, almost solid. The mostarda is then poured into these type of moulds and dried in the sun. Like cotognata it is generally spread with granulated sugar when inverted and exposed again to the sun until they are completely dry.

Now to the moulds (also molds, depending where you come from). These belonged to my great grandmother and my brother has them hanging on his wall in the kitchen. I have a few, fond memories every time I see them. The moulds are called formelle.

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