Quince, Ginger, and Pecan Conserve
In this recipe we slowly "double-cook" the quince, which prevents the fruit from crystallizing and heightens the pinkish- orange color it turns when cooked. This pairs beautifully with manchego cheese which comes from the Mancha region of Spain. Since it is a sheep cheese, it can be substituted with pecorino, the Italian sheep cheese.
1/2 cup pecans
3 medium quinces (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
a 1-inch piece fresh gingerroot
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 cups water
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F.
On a baking sheet in middle of oven toast pecans in one layer until golden, about 10 minutes, and when cool coarsely chop. Peel, quarter, and core quinces. Cut quarters lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices and cut each slice crosswise into 6 pieces. Peel gingerroot and cut into fine julienne strips.
In a 3-quart heavy saucepan bring quince, gingerroot, and all remaining ingredients except pecans to a boil. Simmer mixture, covered, stirring occasionally, 2 1/2 hours (quince will be deep pinkish orange). Cool mixture in pan, covered, at room temperature at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
Return pan to heat and simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Stir in pecans and transfer conserve to a bowl to cool completely. (Conserve keeps, covered and chilled, 1 month.)
Serve conserve with meats, cheeses, and crackers.
You may also want to read about quinces.
Gourmet | January 1998