Mercado Kitchen: Quince Ratafia Two Ways

Ah Quince, you perplexing fruit with a storied past. It looks like an apple or a pear, but don’t you dare take one bite of it raw! Supposedly, 17th Century cookbooks contain more recipes for quince than any other orchard fruit, so I wonder what cooks living hundreds of years ago knew that I don’t! But both Arata Farms and Hale’s Apple Farm have gorgeous quince right now at MCM so I decided to go ahead and give a new recipe a whirl.

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Tired of the usual jam and preserve recipes, I decided to try something that’s not for you teetotalers out there–an old-timey infused liqueur known as “ratafia” which is a name given to cordials made of different fruit, one varietal including quince. The recipe I adapted called for two quinces, but by the time I was finished grating the first one I had almost filled up an entire quart-sized jar. So I I decided to try two slight variations on the same recipe, using one fruit per jar. The main difference is that one recipe contains raw grated quince and the other contains chopped quince that I cooked down slightly. I’ll share the results with you in a few weeks when the infusion process is complete–though I feel confident both will probably be mighty tasty. The ingredients I used were the same for both recipes – these quantities will make you enough ratafia for about one quart-sized jar. 

Ingredients:

1 quince if used raw, 1-2 quinces if cooking
1/3 of a cup raw sugar
Fresh ginger, thumb-sized, peeled and chopped finely
2 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp ground mace
1 Bottle of Brandy

Instructions:

1. Rub the fuzzy outer layer off the quinces, then wash and dry them well.

2. Grate the quinces (peel included) and place the grated fruit in a 1-quart jar with the next 4 ingredients, OR 

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2. Chop the quinces (peel included) into 1/2-inch cubes and place them into a pan over low heat with 1/2 cup of water, plus the next 4 ingredients. Cook slowly for about 20-30 minutes until the fruit is tender and slightly pink

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3. Pour the entire mixture into a 1-quart jar.

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4. Pour enough brandy over the quince to cover by 1 inch.

5. Fasten the lid tightly, then give the jar a good shake to mix up the ingredients.

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6. Set aside the jar in a cool, dark location for at least a week and up to a month. Strain into a clean bottle (or, for gifts, into several small bottles).

7. Serve neat, chilled, in small glasses. Or experiment with cocktail recipes, substituting the quince ratafia for brandy or vodka.

Recipe adapted from Culinate.com and The Kitchn.

Posted on by EmilyN in Arata Farm, Blog, Hale Apple Farm, Mercado Kitchen, Recipes

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