Friday, December 18, 2009
Quinces and Plums Preserve
A preserve used to fill cakes or to dress meat that also changes name and ingredients almost in each town of the Po valley: the "mostarda" (mustard).
This time, continuing our culinary reportage about the traditional recipes of the plain zones between Bologna and Ferrara, we meet the "mostarda bolognese" (Bologna mustard), a preserve made with quinces, plums and oranges that is widely used to prepare cakes or other sweet bakes or also, added with mustard seeds, to flavour boiled meat. Almost each town in the Po valley has its own recipe that slightly differs from the other, the most famous are from Cremona, Mantova and Bologna, but probably every family has its own method as it was the only way in the past to preserve the fruits that won't survive in the winter.
2 lb. quinces
2 lb. plumes
2 lb. sugar
3-5 drops of mustard oil (optional)
Peel and stone the fruits and cut them to pieces. Peel the orange, keeping the zest apart, and squeeze it. Put the juice and the sugar in a bowl, adding some water until the sugar is completely melted. Add the fruits and the orange zest and leave it to rest for 24 hour, stirring it from time to time.
Put the fruits to cook on low heat, make it boil for about 10 minutes then take out from the heat and let cool down. Repeat the procedure other two times, then sieve the mixture and put to cook in a oven at 180F for 3 hours or until very firm and dense. At this point if you want to use the preserve to dress the meat add some drops of mustard oil, depending on the strength of its flavor.
The other articles of the reportage: Tales from the "Bassa" (Flatland):
Tales from the "Bassa" (Flatland) - Introduction
Traditional Sourdough Pork Fat Bread: the "Coppia Ferrarese"
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