(CBS News) The following recipe comes courtesy of chef Lidia Bastianich.
If you haven't cooked quince before, this is a good way to start. The sauce is tangy, not overly sweet, and because the fruit pieces tend to stay intact when cooked, you will enjoy the distinctive taste and texture.
Though it is not as sweet as the quince sauce cotognata, you can enjoy it in many of the same ways, such as spooned onto buttered toast or stirred into a bowl of yogurt, for a tangy snack.
Quince, Cranberry and
Makes about 4 cups
cloves, and/or a small piece of cinnamon stick
Grated zest of a large orange
Fresh juice of a large orange
½ cup honey, plus more to taste
½ cup warm water, plus more as needed
2 or 3 ripe quince (about 12 ounces)
1 large or 2 small tart, firm apple
12 ounces (1 bag) whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
Put into saucepan the spices, orange zest, orange juice, and honey, sloshing out the cup with the warm water. Rinse the quince, cut them in quarters, and peel off the skin. Pare out the core and the seeds, and then slice each wedge crosswise in pieces about 1/3 inches thick. Drop the quince chunks into the saucepan, and set it over moderate heat. Stir as the honey dissolves and the liquid comes to a bubbling summer. Cover the pan, lower the heat, and cook slowly for about 5 minutes, until the quince chunks have started to soften; don't let them get mushy. Remove from the heat.
While the quinces are cooking, peel quarter, and core the apples, and cut into pieces the same size as the quince. Rinse and drain the cranberries. Stir the apple pieces and the berried into the pan. The syrupy liquid should just reach the top of the fruit; add water (or more orange juice) if there's not enough.
Put a cover on the pan and set it over medium-high heat. Bring the syrup back to the boil, and cook about 4 minutes, until the cranberries are starting to pop (a bit longer if the berries were frozen).
Uncover, and simmer until the cranberries have broken up and turned to sauce, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently but gently, so the quince and apple chunks stay intact. Remove from the heat while the sauce is still pourable -- it will thicken as it cools. Taste, and stir in honey if you want a sweeter sauce.
Cool briefly, and then lay a piece of plastic wrap on top of the sauce to keep a skin from forming. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (You can freeze the sauce; the consistency will change, but the flavor will be fresh.)
For more info:
- Lidia's Italy
- "Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking" by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali (Knopf); Also available in eBook format