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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.

Ingredients

Serves: 8
  • 4 quinces, peeled and cut into wedges, cores removed and reserving the seeds
  • 8 cups water
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 slice red beetroot if desired for a deeper red colour

In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar cloves and cinnamon stick as well the quince seeds and heat (over medium heat) stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Poach the quince wedges and the slice of beetroot in the sugar syrup until the quince is tender but not too mushy.

Carefully transfer the poached quince wedges to a large bowl. Discard the slice of beetroot, cinnamon, cloves and quince seeds. Pour the poaching syrup over the fruits in the bowl and bring to room temperature. Chill until ready to serve. Serve cold in small dessert cups or bowls along with the syrup.

TIP – Make these preserved fruits and keep them in sterilised airtight jars and use as you would any jam.

Find more posts on Ramadan & Ramadan Foods during Ottoman Times on these links:

Food For Thought – In pursuit of perfection we tend to lose sight of what’s real. In the bigger picture reality is just perfect.

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