14 January 2010

A&S 50: Food item three:Qunice Drink Syrup Recipe

This one was well loved at Haire Affaire! I clearly need to make more. I think it would also work well with pears and peaches. This is quince after cooking:

Quince Sekanjabin Syrup Recipe
Redaction by Julia May aka Samia al-Kaslaania
April 2009

This is a fabulous hot weather electrolyte drink. Though the vinegar might cause trepidation, by keeping this on the heat for so long the acid from the vinegar is boiled off leaving just the flavor behind. Quince is a fruit in the same family as apple and pear. Their color will change to a bright golden orange when cooking. The juice of the limes is subtle, and the rose water can be striking for palates not accustomed to it. Go sparingly on both until you know your camp will appreciate the added flavors. Travel with it in the concentrated form and either mix it in a pitcher or in each glass as it’s needed.

ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Take some quince, peel them, pit them, and cook them in water. When they have become tender it means that they are half cooked. Take them off of the fire and reserve the cooking liquid. Dissolve some sugar in this liquid and add vinegar. Then, the moment it begins to thicken, throw in the quinces and bring them to a boil once or twice. Then take them off the fire, and add the juice from one or two limes, and scent with rose water. “

Kanz al-Fawai’ad fi tanwi’ al-mawa’id (“The Treasures of Useful Advice for the Composition of a Varied Table”). 13th C Egypt. Translated by M.B. DeBevoise. Found in: Zaouali, Lilia. Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World, 2007.

5 lbs quince (peaches are a good seasonal substitute)
2-3 lbs cane sugar (brown or white)
1 c. apple cider vinegar (optional)
Two limes (optional)
3 T to ¼ c. rose water (optional)

Wash fruit and cut quince into wedges, coring like an apple. If using peaches, pit them and cut into wedges. Put fruit into a large pot and cover with water 2 cups at a time, then add an equal amount of sugar. Add vinegar and heat the pot, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes until liquid is reduced to a syrup. The syrup is reduced enough to be shelf stable when it coats a spoon like cough syrup once cooled. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before adding lime juice and rose water (to taste). Strain out the fruit, pressing lightly to extract more of the syrup. Store in tightly closed containers. Reconstitute to taste, beginning with 1:6 syrup to water ratio.

I believe the peel of the fruit gives a nice flavor, so I don’t peel mine. I don’t know how that affects the humors of the drink though, which would have been a serious consideration in period. I believe that the first removal from the fire in the original is a tool for quickly dissolving the added sugar without burning it. Bringing it to boil a second time gives you more evaporation time when you can’t set your fire to gas mark 4 for a controlled simmer.

This is quince before cooking. The color change tells you it's ready to eat if you were making a simple quince candy.  This recipe cooks it past that stage and it looses much integrity.

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