Monday, November 5, 2012

quince jellies

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quince jellies
many thanks to clotilde at chocolate & zucchini for the poaching method
yields a 20-cm or 8-inch circle of jelly, which you can cut up as you please

1 kg. quince, about 4
1/2 pod vanilla (omit if you don't have)
80 g. (1/4 c. + 2 tbsp.) + 160 g. (3/4 c.) sugar
1 litre (4 c.) water

Rinse the quinces in warm water and use a cloth to gently rub off their fuzz. Then, take out your biggest and baddest knife and sharpen it  quinces are hard like wood. Once you've sharpened your knife, set it aside and get out your vegetable peeler. Peel the quince, then use your sharp knife to cut around the core and make pieces in the size you like (I like 2  3 cm squares).

Put the quince in a big pot and cover with 1 litre of water. Cut your vanilla bean in half and use a small knife to scrape out the seeds. Deposit these seeds and the bean pod in the water. Stir in the 80 g. of sugar. Bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, until the quinces are pink and soft, about an hour and a half for me, possibly longer for you. They should yield easily to a sharp knife and be edible at this point.

While the quinces are poaching, get out a big bowl and two strainers*: one regular pasta strainer and one fine-mesh sieve. Place the big strainer over the big bowl. Once the quinces are soft, strain them over the bowl. Set aside the fruit for your next cake or breakfast (removing the vanilla bean).

Wash the pot the quinces were cooking in to get rid of any extra grainy matter. Rinse it well! Set the fine-mesh sieve over it and strain the cloudy liquid through it. Now you should have clear liquid in the clean pot. Stir in 160 g. of sugar. Boil uncovered over medium-low, stirring when you feel like it.

At first, the bubbles will be small and pop up from the bottom. While you're waiting, get out a shallow pot (about 20 cm or 8 inches). Set it nearby. When the liquid is ready, in about 20 minutes**, it will suddenly be darker and bubbles will be big and tangled and overwhelm the liquid.

Pour it into the shallow pot to stop the cooking process. Wait about 20 minutes, until it's completely cooled and firm. Run a clean butter knife around the edge and invert it (with a bit of help) onto a plate. Use that butter knife to cut it into jelly pieces. Serve alone, as dessert, or with a crumbly sharp cheese, like very old gouda.

You may keep it in the fridge a sealed container for a long time.

*If you have a large fine-mesh sieve, you can skip the first strainer. My fine-mesh sieve is too small to hold all the fruit.
** If you double the recipe, it may take twice as long.

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