Is it too late to wish you a Happy New Year? A wonderful 2009 for all my readers!
It has been kind of obvious that I haven’t been around that much last month. Preparing for the Holidays and the Holidays itself were pretty intense, multiply that with the times my youngest son wakes up in the middle of the night and my pregnancy (did I mention we’ll be having yet another son…hoping for a daughter didn’t help one bit 😉 and you’ll get an idea how beat I am. I haven’t even posted about the other Christmas desserts and treats I made besides the panforte senese. Beeing so busy I didn’t have the time and/or right light to make a lot of good pictures. Luckily the pictures for these quinces candies were ok.
I call them quince candy but it is known under lots of local names: membrillo, cotignac, kotonjata/sir od dunja to name a few. It’s pretty much boils down to (no pun intended 😉 making a very stiff jam made of quinces. Very easy to make, healthy (if you don’t count all the sugar ;), beautiful in colour and a wonderful gift for friends. Will be making those more often during quince season.
Besides these quince treats and the panforte I also served two type of almonds cookies, blood orange salad with pear sorbet and an Italian cheese platter for Christmas dessert. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to finish the Daring Bakers entremet in time to serve as well. There was more than enough so I didn’t mind that much.
(sorry about the blurry picture)
I made two kinds of almonds cookies because I was looking for a recipe that would come close to amaretti di Saronno. I thought I found a recipe in an old cookbook by Artusi but those turned out to be something I like to call ‘accidental macarons’.
Even though the recipe didn’t even call for confectioners sugar they had the appearence of macarons (only appearance because I dried them out so they were meringue like). They turned out delicious but not as pretty and even as I hoped. I didn’t even want to serve them for dessert but I failed making nougat twice and I had to fill my etagÃ¨re with something so I used them anyway 😉 They turned out to be one of the favourites 🙂
The other almond cookies had honey and cinnamon besides almonds, sugar and egg whites. They were chewy and a tad bitter (but good) due to the the 10% bitter almonds I used and maybe also because of the honey.
This last picture is the care package I for the family to take home after the Christmas dinner. It contained panforte, quince candy, winter tea, pandolce and almond cookies.
Quince candy (adapted from here)
4 quinces, cored, peeled and quartered (add a little lemon juice against colouring)
… g sugar (same weight as the cooked quinces)
lemon juice to taste (I used 4 tbs for about 1 kg of quinces)
granulated sugar for coating (optional)
Cover the quinces with water. Boil until tender (about 20-30 minutes). Drain and weight the quinces. Add the same weight in sugar. Add lemon juice and cook for 1-2 hours, stirring in between. Mixture should thicken and turn orange. A wooden spoon drawn through the bottom of the pot leaves a track.
Meanwhile prepare a sheet pan or something by covering the bottom with baking paper. Pour or scoop the quince mixture into the prepared pan and spread it out. Top with another piece of baking paper in order to make an even smoother surface. Allow to cool and set.
Cut into desired shape. Allow to dry for a day or more until dry(ish) to the touch.
Roll in granulated sugar for a more candy-like appearance.
Will keep for a long time.