Photo credit: Kuzinavanje.com
Has it ever happened to you that you tasted some food that you loved when you were little, and childhood memories immediately came back to life? It happened to me today: a friend of mine offered me a piece of Kotonjada, which I haven’t tasted in more than ten years. My grandma used to make it when I was young, but as she grew older, her receding health got the better of her cooking skill.
For those who are not familiar with it, Kotonjada is a specialty of Croatian cuisine (or more specifically, Dalmatian), a kind of jelly made of quinces and sugar. When I tasted it today, I felt flooded with memories. This is how I imagine Proust must have felt like when he tasted Madeleine after so many years. There they were, my grandparents, growing their own fruit and vegetables in the garden next to the cottage house. When I was a child, I used to have my own small piece of land that nobody else was allowed to touch. I planted some flowers there and watered them every time I came to visit. Unfortunately, I rarely go to the old house anymore, however, the happy days I have spent there are still vivid in my memory, especially today after tasting this fabulous dessert.
Here is the recipe:
2 kg of ripe quinces
60 dkg sugar
Freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 lemon
Freshly squeezed orange juice from 1 orange
Some bay leaves
Wash the quinces and remove the seeds, then dice them and boil them in water. When they become soft, mash them in the blender, return to heat and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Add sugar, lemon and orange juice and continue cooking for another half hour. Remove from heat and, while still hot, distribute the mixture in small molds of your choice (Ours were in the shape of various fish and other sea creatures). Feel free to add some chopped nuts to your taste, however, my grandma usually made a traditional, plain version. Leave the molds to dry for 24 hours, then carefully remove the jelly and place them in a box on top of some bay leaves.
Serving suggestion: it pairs best with sweet, dessert vine, such as Prosecco.
Which are your “Madeleines”? Also, let me know if you try the recipe!