Quince sweet (Kidonoloukoumia)

A delicious way to preserve quinces and enjoy them the whole winter

2 kg  quinces
2 kg sugar
juice of 2 lemons
2 Tablespoons cognac
optional: a few bay leaves

Rub the downy layer off of the quinces, then wash and dry them.  Chop them into quarters or eighths if they are very large, and remove blemishes.

Place them in a pan, cover with water and cook them until they are soft, about ½ hour.  Remove the fruit from their cooking water (this water can be kept and used for jam-making, as it contains much pectin).  Peel and seed the pieces of quince, add 1750 g of sugar and stir until the quinces are smooth.  Add lemon juice, heat the quince puree and continue cooking until very thick; the paste should come loose from the inside of the pan.  Alternatively, the fruit can be pureed in a food mill to remove seeds and peel, then heated with sugar and lemon juice as described above.

Line the bottom of a large cake pan with baking parchment and moisten it with 1 spoonful cognac and sprinkle half of the remaining sugar over it.  Spread the quince paste over the parchment, making a smooth layer about 2 cm thick.  Allow to air-dry for 2 days, then spread another spoonful of cognac over the top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.  Allow to dry until no longer sticky, cut into squares with a sharp, oiled knife.  Store in a can sprinkled with sugar, placing a few bay leaves here and there if wished.