The Jewish New Year is about to start on Wednesday, and this brings back memories of traditional foods even to an agnostic such as myself.
One of these culinary traditions is to dip a slice of apple in honey, and eat it as a symbol for a sweet New Year. Many other sweet dishes are added as well, in order to emphasize this hope for a sweet New Year.
Candied quince is one of these dishes in the Sephardic table, and is well worth preparing, regardless of any religious practices.
As with last weeks’ celeriac dish, here too the quince is cooked slowly, until the slices soften and change their color from yellow into a beautiful orange-radish, most of the liquids reduced and the sugar and honey caramelizes.
Once again, patience and keeping an eye on the dish is needed, especially in the last stage of cooking: you want the quince to caramelize a bit, but not too much, so that it will still be soft.
Traditionally, the candied quince slices are served on their own, but don’t hesitate to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, nuts or other toppings to it.
Another option is to serve the candied slices with fresh goat cheese, as shown here, or with blue cheese.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
1 large quince
2 cups water
Fresh lemon juice, from ½ large lemon
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbs honey (preferably orange blossom)
1 small sprig of rosemary (optional)
1. Cut the quince into quarters and then cut each quarter into 3 fairly thick slices. With a small sharp knife, carefully remove the seeds and the hard core around them. (Do not peel, or the slices will lose their shape while cooking.)
2. Mix the water, lemon juice, sugar and honey in a bowl and stir to dissolve.
3. Place the quince slices in the pot, in one layer and add the liquid mix. Cover and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes.
4. Uncover the pot and add the rosemary. Lower the heat to medium-low and keep cooking for about 20 minutes. Carefully, turn the slices to their other side. Keep on cooking for another 30 minutes, or until the quince changes color to orange-red and most of the liquid is absorbed in the quince.
5. Let cool in the pot before carefully transferring to a serving plate.