Pigwa – Quince

Until this past weekend I didn’t know what quince was, I didn’t even know the word quince but I’m sure my scrabble game will benefit from this one day. Known as pigwa in Poland (pronounced peegva), it turns out I had a whole tree of it growing at my parent’s house. I picked 3 huge bags of fruit with no idea what to do with it, that is until I did a little research.

First of all quince is a very hard fruit, almost seems like a very hard pear, only much bigger, and it took some muscle to cut it all up. Once done, I stuffed two jars full of quince pieces and covered it with sugar. This was done for my home made ‘nalewka’. After a couple of weeks in the jar, I will add some 96% alcohol and it should be ready just in time for the long winter evenings. The rest I threw into a big pot and cranked up the heat. It’s pretty amazing how a rock solid fruit just gives in to the heat. After about 45 minutes of constant stirring while adding sugar until it tasted just right I was left with a quince jam. Karolina and I decided to make a cake with a part of it, and jar the rest.

The cake was another first for me. While I’ve done the simple cakes in the States, the ones from a box “just add 3 eggs, oil, and water”, I’ve never done a cake from scratch. Flour, egg yokes, butter, baking powder, some elbow grease and one empty bottle of wine. The bottle of wine is optional of course, it helps if you have a roller to spread out the dough, but the bottle had to work in my case. And not just any wine, a Napa Valley wine that I brought from Cali myself.

It took us about six hours to get it all done. From not knowing a thing about quince, to three separate dishes one which is almost  completely eaten now, all in one day. Here’s what everything looked like at the end. I highly recommend it, it’s delisious.

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