I was given two quinces by my mother in law, with the promise that there were “loads more where they came from.” Really kind and lovely in theory, but the problem is what do with them. Cranking out a quince jelly recipe is the obvious choice, because you can’t just eat them like you would an apple, but it seemed so…pedestrian.
Anyway, adding a bit of thyme felt a bit more adventurous – any quince jelly recipe suggests loads of sugar so I thought it might cut through the sweetness slightly. I’m not entirely sure I can taste it in the finished result, but it certainly created a nice aromatic cloud when boiling away, and I fancy my version isn’t quite as cloyingly sucrose as most. Thyme is definitely more noticeable in the orange curd recipe I created for the Herb and Flower Cookbook but, well, at least I used up those quinces. And yes, Mother in Law, I would like some more please. I reckon a quince and bay leaf crumble might just do the trick.
Makes: 2 jars
- 2 large quince
- Large handful of thyme sprigs
- 750ml water
- 450g sugar
Wash the quince, cut them into quarters and remove the cores. Chop the remaining fruit into rough chunks and put them in a large pan with the thyme and water. Boil for 45 minutes.
Using a potato masher, mash everything together into one big mush. Line a sieve with a clean jay cloth and set it over a large bowl. Tip the quince into it, leaving it for half an hour or so for all the liquid to drain through. Every now and again, squeeze the cloth with your hands to help the liquid run out. Discard the pulp.
Pour the liquid into a pan and add the sugar, setting it over a low heat. Stir as the sugar dissolves, and then leave it to a rolling boil for around 30 minutes. Take out a little dollop, leave it to cool on a plate and nudge it with your finger. If it wrinkles, it’s done.
Pour the jelly into two well-washed jars and seal with their lids immediately. Leave to cool before transferring to the fridge. It will keep for a month or so, and can be eaten on toast or with cold meats, or is really good on a cheeseboard.