To make cotignac, peel quinces, cut in quarters and remove the eye and the pips. Cook them in some decent wine and then strain. Boil some honey for long time and skim it, then add the quinces and stir thoroughly. Keep boiling until the honey is reduced by at least half; then toss in hippocras powder and stir until is completely cooled. Then cut into pieces and store.
- 2 big quinces
- 3 dl red wine
- 2,5 dl water
- 500 g honey
Spices: 1,5 teaspoons of Hippocras powder or well ground spices:
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- ⅓ teaspoon of ginger
- ⅓ teaspoon of grains of paradise
- ⅕ teaspoon of nutmeg
- ⅕ teaspoon of galingale
Peel the quinces and take the gores away. Cut them into quarters and boil in good red wine and water until they are really soft. Take the quinces out from the wine and strain them through strainer and discard the pulp. You will get about 1,5 dl of quince paste. Carefully boil the honey in a pot for 5-10 minutes and skim the foam of the surface. Stir in the quince paste and the spices. Boil carefully stirring all the time until the honey has diminished into half. Be careful not to burn the honey. Keep stirring after taking the pot of fire and let the marmalade cool completely before cutting.
Hippocras powder (as it is said in Le Ménagier de Paris): a quartern of very fine cinnamon, half quartern of cassia buds, an ounce of hand picked fine white Mecca ginger, an ounce of grains of paradise and a sixth of an ounce nutmeg and galingale together.
The Hippocras powder mixture made me think quite a long time about how much the spices you need to spice the quince marmalade. Especially how much there might have been in the spice mixture in Paris 1390. All this thinking took some hours and I will get back to it later. The recipe for the quince marmalade or cotignac tells us to just toss in some Hippocras powder and nothing about the exact amounts. The spice mixture is written down and is quite detailed in another recipe in Le Ménagier. There you can see how much and what kind of spices you need to make the powder.
So either you make bigger batch of Hippocras powder mixture and then toss some of it to the quince marmalade or go with the suggested amounts in the recipe above. If you happen to have both Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia use both but if not then what ever cinnamon you have. If you don’t have galingale or grains of paradise you can either leave them or substitute them with something else like using a bit more ginger and tossing a pinch of black pepper to the marmalade.
I have written down the Hippocras powder recipe and changed the quarterns and ounces to teaspoons, which will unfortunately not give you the exact right amounts but gives a hint of how much spices there are. I will write down the whole recipe of Hippocras later and some thoughts about the spice mixture and the amounts.
Hippocras powder mixture:
- 28 tl fine cinnamon (probably Cinnamomum Verum)
- 15 tl cassia buds (Cinnamomum Cassia)
- 7,6 tl ginger
- 7,6 tl grains of paradise
- 1,2 tl nutmeg
- 1,2 tl galingale
- The Good Wife’s Guide. Le Menagier de Paris by Gina L.Greco and Christine M.Rose. c.1393