it's no secret (or joke!) that you want to
besides the usual honey cake, there is often a sponge cake of some sort with which the following 'dulsé' is served. made from a simple sugar syrup perfumed by a few spices, its main ingredient is the quince. many things can be made from this special scented fruit which is similar to an apple. the difference is the quince cannot be eaten raw (well, it can, but you certainly won't enjoy it!). this fruit is always cooked in some manner, whether it be to make sweets or put in some kind of soup or stewed dish.
the interesting part of this is that, like apples, quince oxidize (turn brown) VERY quickly. while this is not really desirable with an apple, it is the opposite case here — you DO want the quince to turn brown. this browning of the fruit is only a temporary thing because as they cook, they take on a pinkish colour, something you are hoping will happen. if you put them immediately in the syrup, they tend to remain white.
to make this sweet compote, you need at least 36 hours advance preparation as it has to cook and sit overnight. it is refrigerated the next morning and sits there until you break the fast, when it is usually served out of a crystal bowl with a silver spoon. the recipe is made based on ratios - so, you usually have to figure out how many people are going to be arriving and estimate it's about 1/4 of a quince per person. not everyone will eat everything, so ...... make an educated guess. i say that because quince are expensive — here, they usually cost about $2 each, sometimes more. you don't want to make tons and have no one eat it! in any event, it stores well in the fridge for a good week or two.
ayva (bimbriyo) del corte kipur
poached quince in a light syrup
*quince (estimate 1/4 - 1/3 quince per person -- see method for explanation)
cinnamon & cloves
orange flower water or lemon juice, if wanted
*(ayva = membrillo/bimbriyo/quince); make sure to find fruit which is not blemished and soft. the fruit should feel very hard and hopefully have a perfumed scent to it at room temperature.
START THIS RECIPE IN THE EARLY MORNING (OR MID-AFTERNOON) ONLY!!
first make your syrup:
you need a 2:1 ratio - so, i use per quince: 1/2 c sugar to 1/4 c water.
you also need 1/2 stick cinnamon & 1 clove per quince AND strips of lemon peel from 1/2 a large lemon (peel strips lengthwise).
place the sugar, water and spices (not the lemon peel!) in a pan/pot large enough to accomodate the quince.
bring the mixture to a boil and lower the heat. cook it until the sugar dissolves and it is no longer foamy.
set this aside and proceed with the fruit. if you like, you can prepare the fruit and while it is sitting for the hour, make the syrup. it works either way....
prepare the fruit:
carefully wash your quince, removing any of the white fluff still on it and then dry the fruit. place it on a sturdy cutting board. quince is very hard and you have to be careful when cutting it so make sure you have a sharp knife.
after deciding how many quince you need, peel them with a peeler (paring them with a knife takes away too much peel). take a sharp knife and remove the stem and blossom ends.
cut the quince, carefully, in half.
core the quince and keep the cores (but remove the seeds - if there is any mouldy stuff near the seeds, clean it out). you'll add them to the rest of the fruit when they cook.
cut the quince into slices, fairly thick ones, approx. 1/2 inch thick. place them in a bowl and let them sit for 1 hour to dry and oxidize. they will turn brownish.
after one hour, place the oxidized quince and cores in the syrup and bring it to a boil.
now you need to add water (most probably) to have the liquid come up to the top of the quince. don't add too much water, however. add it bit by bit and judge if it is enough.
bring this to a boil and then turn down the heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a lid and let this cook for 12 to 15 minutes.
two hours later, bring to a boil again - turning down heat - and cook for about 5 minutes, not longer. now turn off the heat and let this sit, covered for 8 hours. *if you started this late afternoon, let it sit overnight covered and finish it in the (early) morning*.
after 8 hours, add the lemon peel.
cook the quince again for the final time for another 6 to 8 minutes (or even up to another 10 to 12 minutes if needed). the fruit should be tender, not mushy. this depends on the heat of your stove - you are poaching the fruit, not boiling it down to a jam!! the best way to tell is to pierce the fruit with and knife; if it goes through nicely, it's done. taste it also for texture. don't forget to remove the cores you added.
taste the syrup. it should be fairly thin. if you like you can add 2 tsp of orange flower water -- or if it is too sweet for you, add lemon juice buy only 1 tsp at a time. if adding lemon juice, you may want to bring it to a boil once last time but DON'T recook it.
let the finished product cool off the heat (uncovered). place it in a glass bowl in the fridge well covered until serving time.