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November 1st, 2007

recipe: Codonyat / Catalan quince paste


Quince fruit, Barcelona © Jeff Koehler

Today is Tots Sants (All Saints’ Day), a holiday in Barcelona, and, following tradition, I am making quince paste with the season’s first fruit. At home we like our codonyat (in Spanish it’s called membrillo) in a smoother, more spreadable form of confitura (preserve) and don’t bother leaving it out for a few days to firm up. (It’s delicious reheated slightly and spooned on top of vanilla ice cream.)

I will post a piece I wrote for the literary journal Tin House in 2005 on quince below.

Confitura de Codony (Catalan Quince Preserve)

2 pounds quinces
1 1/4 pounds sugar, or an equal weight to usable quince flesh

Fill a medium-sized container with cool water to place the peeled quince pieces as the flesh discolors very quickly.

Peel the quinces, quarter them, removing and reserving the heart and seeds. Put the pieces of flesh into the container of water.

Place the core and seeds in a heavy sauce pan and cover with at least 3 cups of water. Briskly boil, covered, for 45 minutes, or until the red jelly is released from the seeds. Add more water if needed. Strain and reserve the liquid, discarding the cores and seeds.

Cut the quince quarters into small pieces and add into the sauce pan. Add the sugar and 2 1/2 cups of the reserved liquid. Cook covered over a very low flame for 1 hour, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Add in more of the reserved water if necessary to avoid drying out or burning.

Remove from heat, let cool slightly, and puree. It should be thick and smooth, moist, granular. Splash in some more water if it is dry; conversely, if it is too moist, return the paste to the pan and cook uncovered, stirring constantly, until achieving the desired consistency.

Spoon the paste into a small ceramic dish and let set.

For longer storage, place the preserve in glass jars and sterilize them in a bain-marie for 10 minutes before sealing.

Posted by jeffkoehler in  in the kitchen  |  

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