Khoshaf was frequently served in Ottoman palaces especially to the Sultanas in the afternoon or when in the company of guests. It was a staple Ramadan dish at the palace. Because sugar was a rare commodity at that time – sugar cane does not thrive in Turkey, and it was not yet discovered that sugar can be made from beets – only the palace could indulge in this delicacy relying in principal on the use of sugar.
Khoshaf has evolved much since then, but this is the base from which Khoshaf sprung. There are many applications as the recipe lends itself well to adaptations and creativity, so feel free to run with it 🙂 In this recipe, quince is used, however, the recipe applies to a variety of fruits including apples, peaches, pears and even pumpkin.
It is argued that the base of all poached fruits, including the poaching in wine instead of syrup is all inspired from Khoshaf. The preservation of fruits in sugar syrup is an ancient technique, that when sugar was not available yet, honey was used and at times the juice of the same fruit that is cooked and reduced will have acted as the syrup in older recipes.