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(recipe, Carrie Floyd)
Ratafia is a fruit brandy traditionally made by combining unfermented grape juice with marc brandy. It can be made out of other ingredients, too: fruit kernels, bitter almonds, or fresh fruit. For the home cook, ratafia is a fun way to capture seasonal fruit into a cordial to drink later. This recipe, adapted from Jane Grigson's Good Things, combines fresh quince with sugar, spices, and brandy or vodka.
- 2 large quinces
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 thumb-size knob of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼ tsp. ground mace
- Vodka or brandy
- Rub the gray down off the quinces, then wash and dry them well. Grate the quinces (peel and core included) and place the grated fruit in a 1-quart jar.
- Add the sugar, ginger, cinnamon stick, and mace. Pour enough vodka or brandy over the grated quince to cover by 1 inch.
- Fasten the lid tightly, then give the jar a vigorous shake, to mix up the ingredients. Open the jar and push down the quince with a long spoon, so that the ingredients are submerged in the liquor.
- Set aside the jar for at least a week and up to a month. Strain into a clean bottle (or, for gifts, into several small bottles).
- Serve neat, chilled, in small glasses. Or experiment with cocktail recipes, substituting the quince ratafia for brandy or vodka.