Condoignac - Quince Jam

This is based on a medieval recipe (in Le Menagier de Paris) in which the red wine accentuates the quince's natural pinkness and the honey brings out the quince's fragrance. It gives off a Christmassy scent as it is cooking, rather like mulled wine, and indeed would make a delicious Christmas sweetmeat, perhaps boxed in pretty containers.

1 kg ripe quinces
500 ml red wine
450 ml honey
2 tbsp caster sugar
a pinch each of ground cloves, cinnamon and
dried galingale
3-4 tbsp granulated sugar

Peel and core the quinces, cut into quarters and cook them, covered in red wine, until soft. Drain, reserving the syrupy wine, puree the wine-dark quinces, and then press through a sieve. At this point the quince mixture will be a lovely Bloomsbury mauve. Add the honey and the caster sugar to the reserved wine, then bring to a boil. Add the pureed quinces and the spices. Boil until die mixture seems to have reduced by half and is leaving the sides of the pan. It should be thick and jammy. Pour into a greased 20 cm cake tin and leave to cool. Cut into bite-sized pieces and dip them in the granulated sugar. If you prefer, you can boil the mixture a little less long, pot it in jars, and use it as a divine quince spread.

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