This is one of the first French recipes for quince bread or “cotignac”, which the city of Orleans later made its great specialty.
Here it is prepared with honey, like all the “confitures et confiseries” from the Menagier de Paris. For the author, it is out of the question here to use the precious sugar, which is reserved for nobler uses. And yet this recipe is not uninteresting, because by cooking the fruit in red wine and not in water, the quince bread acquires a beautiful coloration and a small alcoholic and sour aftertaste that balances the sweet savory of the quince and the musky flavor of the honey.
To understand the word “cotignac” you have to take the name of the quince: In Provençal it is called “condougn”, in Italian “mela cotogna”, which according to etymologists refers to “Cydonia”, a town in Crete, which in Latin is called “Cotonea”.
Pliny, in his Natural History, mentions this city both with regard to the origin of the quince and to the quince trade.
Remove the skin from the fruit and remove the core, then cut into pieces. Place in a saucepan and cover with red wine. Bring to a slow boil and do this until the quinces are quite soft (about 15 to 20 min after the first boil).
Drain carefully and strain through a sieve or vegetable mill until you have a nice puree.
Weigh the puree. Take 300 g of cooked