Quince Paste

(Cotognata)

MAKES ONE 5" x 9" LOAF

The Genoa confectioners' shop Romanengo sells this confection as a teatime snack or a simple, light dessert.

**2 lemons, halved
2 lbs. (about 5 medium) ripe quince
5 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. dry pectin
**
1. Squeeze 2 tsp. of juice from 1 of the lemon halves into a small bowl and set aside. Peel, core, and quarter quince, rubbing them all over with juice from remaining lemons to prevent fruit from browning. Put quince into a large pot and add just enough water to cover (about 5 cups). Simmer over medium-low heat until quince are soft and easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.

2. Drain quince and puree in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a clean large heavy pot and stir in 4 1/2 cups of the sugar and reserved lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until puree is deep red, glossy, and thick, about 1 hour. Remove pot from heat and stir in pectin.

3. Line a 5" x 9" or 5-cup loaf pan with parchment paper. Pour quince mixture into pan, smoothing out top, and set aside to let cool. Loosely cover pan with parchment paper. Set quince paste aside in a cool dark dry place to let cure and dry for 10 days. Unmold paste and loosely wrap in parchment paper. Set paste aside, bottom side up, to let cure and dry until texture is firm to the touch and paste slices easily, about 10 days more. Dust quince paste all over with remaining sugar.