The oldest recipe for Mostarda Mantovana was published in the 14th Century and is still the basis of the modern recipes.. The traditional recipe was made with quinces but nowadays, with the re-interpretation of the modern cuisine, it is made all year round and the most common recipes are made with pears and apples. It is normally served with meat or cheese. This sauce has a particularity which is the Mustard that is used to make it. In Italy Mustard Essence Oil is used and is quite easy to find in speciality shops. Mustard Essence Oil is very strong - you only have to add a few drops but the taste is absolutely delicious. Outside Italy I think it's very difficult to get the essence so I will give you the amount of mustard powder to obtain the same taste. —Maria Teresa Jorge
3 to 4 jars of 250ml
cooking apples, peeled and cored
1 1/4 pounds
pears, peeled and cored
2 1/2 cups
drops of Mustard Essence Oil or 2 ounces of white mustard powder diluted in 1/4 cup vinegar
Wash, peel and core the fruit. Weigh the fruit at this stage. Cut the fruit in thin slices or small pieces. Put the fruit in a large bowl and add the sugar. Mix very well to coat all the fruit. Cover and chill for 1 day.
Strain the sugar and juices from the fruit and put in a pan. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Pour the hot sugar and juice over the fruit and let cool. Cover and chill for 1 day.
Repeat step 2 once more, bringing the drained juices of the fruit and sugar to a boil, simmering 1o minutes and adding it back to the fruit. Cover and chill for 1 day.
In a wide pan put all the fruit and the juices and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to the minimum and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, always stirring gently to keep the fruit in pieces. The fruit needs to be cooked until almost all liquid is evaporated and fruit is dense and a bit coloured.
Remove from the heat, add the Mustard essence oil or the white mustard powder diluted in the vinegar. Mix gently avoiding breaking the fruit. Allow to cool completely.
Serve with meat or cheese.
Note: If you want to make a big quantity to keep, it's better to sterilise the jars.
Note 2: You can make this sauce with only apples or only pears or with quinces when they are available.