Sunday, 7 October 2018



This has been an amazing year for quinces. Somebody said to me the other day that they're an ugly fruit - but I think they're beautiful, all knobbly and golden. I've had a dozen to play with so I've been experimenting with quince pies. Last week's was a monster: tort of quinces - with marzipan and Parmesan cheese - from an Italian recipe of 1662. Gargantuan quantity of filling so I made one big pie, lots of little pies ... I was a bit quinced out by the end of week.
So this week I kept it simple with a filling of poached quinces dabbed with quince jelly made by boiling up the peelings and cores in the cooking water. Topped with a very fancy pastry lid. It was - divine. Here's the recipe - from 1707 - thanks to my favourite food historian. Sadly, I'm now out of quinces.

Boil your Quinces in Water, sweetened with Sugar, till they be soft, then skin them and take out the Cores; after that boil the Water with a little more Sugar, Cloves, Cinnamon and Lemon peel till it becomes of the thickness of a Syrup; when cold lay your Quinces in Halves or Quarters, scattering Sugar between each Layer; put a pint of the Syrup, or more according to the Biggness of your Pye or Tart, make the Coffin round with close or cut Covers, and bake it pretty well. And thus you may do with Pippins and Pearmains, or with Winter-Fruit, and also with green Codlings.
From - The Whole Duty of a Woman. London: 1707

10 comments:

Gina said...

I love that you have used an original old recipe. And I love the flavour of quince too!

Mary said...

It tasted wonderful, Gina - the jelly made a gorgeous syrup - and the smell was amazing. It soon disappeared!

Toffeeapple said...

I Used to buy some each year simply for the aroma, as I did the fragrant Mangoes. They are no longer perfumed. Sadly.

Mary said...

No, they don't seem to scent a room like they used to - I wonder why?

Veronica Cooke said...

I have never tasted one - what do they taste like? A cross between and apple and a pear?

Mary said...

That's about right, Veronica - like an appley-pear but the syrup goes a lovely red colour. They're a bit labour-intensive so you have to be in the mood.

Sue said...

It has been a good year for quinces. My tree has produced hundreds. I have a big bowl of them to scent the house and I’ve made jelly, quince vodka and a pie. Whoever said they are ugly must want their eyes testing.

Mary said...

I feel such a fraud posting about quinces, Sue. You are the quince Queen! Have you ever used medlars? I have been promised some
and I'd like to try a pie if I can get them soft enough to be worth using. But so often they end up dry/mealy.

Sue said...

I’ve never tried medlars Mary, but would like to. I’m told when properly blotted they’re like toffees.

Mary said...

Toffee pie sounds promising! But whether I'll get them bletted before the squirrels finish them off remains to be seen.