The Unjustified Quince

My praise for the sooth­ing, reg­u­lar, oblong qual­it­ies of jus­ti­fied text in my last post, The Jus­ti­fied Green­gage, pro­voked some people to ques­tion my san­ity and judge­ment. Appar­ently, only jus­ti­fied left, raggedy right, will do. In my defence, I’m teach­ing myself the art of let­ter­press on my dad’s Vic­tori­an print­ing press, so it’s only in blog posts that I like slabs of type to look like Swedish crisp­bread.

If you were hor­ri­fied by my taste for uni­form lines, this post is for you. Its raggedy, ram­shackle right-hand edge will, I hope, soothe your raggedy nerves. If your nerves are still raggedy, jus­ti­fied text not­with­stand­ing, the glor­i­ous, per­fumed qual­it­ies of the quince will help no end. In my case, cre­at­ing sorbets, cor­di­als and jel­lies from my har­vest of quince, came at the end of a week in which I saw Ibsen’s Ghosts, Marlowe’s Edward II and Shakespeare’s Tit­us Andronicus. For three nights in a row, I wal­lowed in hypo­crisy, tor­ment, murder, tyranny and pints and pints of blood. (I’d always thought that Tit­us Andronicus was un-per­form­able, but Michael Fentiman’s pro­duc­tion at the RSC proved me wrong. It was start­lingly, shock­ingly funny and very, very messy.)

I’ve writ­ten before about the truc­u­lence of the quince, but over time I’ve come to think of it as hav­ing Pol­ly­anna-like qual­it­ies, des­pite its unyield­ing, con­crete-like flesh. Once cajoled out of its raw state, the quince’s  perky eager­ness-to-please puts it in a cat­egory all of its own. The fruit looks beau­ti­ful on the tree, per­fumes the house when it’s brought inside, yields gen­er­ous amounts of cor­di­al while it cooks and, hav­ing done that, it’s still there, at the ready, to be turned into some­thing else. This year, hav­ing grown over one hun­dred fruit, I’ve made jelly, mem­brillo, quince brandy, cor­di­al and, per­haps my favour­ite of all, sorbet. Like Mrs Beeton’s instruc­tion, when mak­ing pie, to ‘first catch your rab­bit’, to make sorbet, first make your cor­di­al. Like this:


  • 12 quince, whole and unpeeled
  • 850 ml water
  • 350g caster sug­ar

I’ve writ­ten the recipe for this before, but to make life easi­er, here it is again. Pre­heat the oven to 150 degrees C. Wash the fruit, rub­bing off its fluff with your fin­gers. Pack the quince snugly into a bak­ing dish that is approx­im­ately the same height as the fruit. Tip in the sug­ar and water and place a piece of sil­ver foil over the top, tuck­ing it in around the fruit. Bake in the oven for three hours and then remove and allow to cool before pour­ing the liquid into a jug. (Reserve the fruit and I will tell you how to use it for mem­brillo.) The amount of cor­di­al you will get var­ies from between 500 to 700 ml, depend­ing on the size of the fruit. I freeze mine in small bottles, to pluck out, slightly show­ily, dur­ing the year. Serve it topped up with spark­ling water or pro­secco. Or, move onto phase 2.…. sorbet.


  • Home-made quince cor­di­al
  • Finely grated parmes­an

The point of com­bin­ing the sorbet with parmes­an is to drag it in the dir­ec­tion of the savoury. But if you wish to nudge it back into the safe con­fines of a famil­i­ar har­bour, match it with mango and black­cur­rant sorbet instead.

Pour the cooled, undi­luted cor­di­al straight into an ice-cream maker and churn until frozen. It will turn a rather soppy Ger­moline pink, but has its charms. To make the parmes­an cups, heap mounds of grated cheese on bak­ing parch­ment — about two table­spoons for each cup — and bake in the oven for two to three minutes. When melted into golden discs, remove and shape them over the bot­tom of an espresso cup imme­di­ately. Allow to cool and then assemble.


Next, the com­pli­ant quince is ready for phase three — mem­brillo.

  • Cooked quince left over from the cor­di­al exper­i­ment
  • Caster sug­ar

Like the cor­di­al and the sorbet, this recipe is ridicu­lously easy. Squish the cooked fruit through a sieve. It’s easi­er to do this one at a time, dis­card­ing the pips and skin from the sieve and then mov­ing on to the next fruit. Weigh the pulp and add it, with an identic­al quant­ity of caster sug­ar, to a pan. Bring the mix­ture to the boil and then allow to sim­mer very gently for around one and a half hours. It will become a dark, rich red and is ready when you can draw a wooden spoon across the bot­tom of the pan, leav­ing the two sides to stand huffily apart from each oth­er, before reluct­antly creep­ing back over the pan to reunite.

Serve with a hard, salty cheese and crisp­bread. For those of us who’ve aban­doned beau­ti­fully uni­form jus­ti­fied text for the sake of oth­er people, use nice, sooth­ingly oblong, reg­u­lar, plank-shaped crisp­bread, to calm those raggedy nerves. My favour­ite sour­dough crisp­bread from Peter’s Yard is cir­cu­lar, not oblong. So I’ll cut my cheese into oblongs instead.

If You are inter­ested in pur­chas­ing medic­a­ments online, now may be the day to do so. So the next mat­ter is where can you find info that is reli­able. You can get such info fast and con­veni­ently by going online. There are many ill­nesses such as schizo­phrenia which have no cure. One of the most pop phys­ic is Via­gra. What about com­par­is­on between Cial­is versus Levitra and ? Nearly each adult knows about . Oth­er ques­tion we have to is . The symp­toms of sexu­al dis­orders in men turn on lack of sexu­al fantas­ies. Not­with­stand­ing sex is not vital for good sound­ness, it’s cer­tainly good for any­one. So if you are exper­i­en­cing erectile prob­lems, it is essen­tial to see a cer­ti­fied phys­i­cian imme­di­ately for a com­plete med­ic­al test­ing. Cer­tainly, online phar­macy can hands-down help you for solv­ing your all per­son­al dif­fi­culties.

14 thoughts on “The Unjustified Quince

  1. A three in one post, it’s my lucky day Charlie! They all look great but the cor­di­al espe­cially stands out for me. As always, the pho­to­graphy is gor­geous

  2. It seems to me that one either has few quinces or more quinces than can be coun­ted. I found myself in the lat­ter cat­egory this Octo­ber. I lis­ted my sur­plus crop on free­cycle where they were spot­ted by a pig keep­er who was on the look-out for treats for his pigs. What treats!

    I have made jelly and quince vodka, baked them, puréed them and put them in cakes, I have also frozen a quant­ity of quince juice which I think will now be turned in to quince cor­di­al and sorbet. Thank you for the ideas.

    • Yes, it’s very odd. Last year I had pre­cisely zero fruit. This year I am up to my neck in them. I hope you enjoy the sorbet — I love it.

  3. A top class post, as always. Your unique, almost Sur­real­ist, text per­fectly com­ple­ments your stun­ning pho­to­graphs and fas­cin­at­ing recipes. Surely a beau­ti­ful cook­book with lit­er­ary appeal as its USP must one day appear?

    • You’re such a loy­al read­er, Jakey — thank you. I do enjoy writ­ing my posts, so it’s par­tic­u­larly reward­ing when they’re appre­ci­ated — and the pho­to­graphy too. A cook-book with a lit­er­ary theme sounds very appeal­ing. Per­haps one day.

  4. What an orgy of theatre-going, lucky you. I was thrilled this after­noon to nab a return tick­et for Ghosts, as it’s sold out — the Almeida pro­duc­tion with Les­ley Man­ville, but I’m guess­ing you saw the Oxford one?

    • You’re right — I saw the Oxford Play­house one. It was extremely good, but I’d love to see the Almeida pro­duc­tion which has had such won­der­ful reviews. How clev­er of you to get a return. There’s some­thing very sat­is­fy­ing about returns — it was how I got to see the final per­form­ance of Tit­us on Sat­urday.

  5. Your posts always make my day Charlie and quinces can be lovely. must look at the mar­ket must have missed them so far. they sort of appear unplanned and dis­apeer as quickly. odd! must reread your last post to see what all the flut­ter was about. great hugs from across the chan­nel xox

    • I nev­er see them in the mar­ket either, although I’ve grown so many this year that I could set up a mar­ket stall myself. (I say ‘grown’, but I didn’t have any­thing to do with it. They just appeared on the tree in stag­ger­ing quant­it­ies — all I had to do was pick them.) I’m so pleased you enjoyed read­ing the post, Karin.

  6. Indeed — I’d always clas­si­fied Tit­us Andronicus as unper­form­able, but maybe not so any more. “The truc­u­lence of quince” — oh what I would do to have writ­ten that one phrase! Too mar­vel­lous. I adore mem­brillo but have yet to grapple with a raw quince (jus­ti­fied or oth­er­wise). A deli­cious post, as always.

    • You are such a gen­er­ous read­er, Jeanne and always look for the poetry in things. I’m delighted you enjoyed the writ­ing — it means a lot to me.

  7. A lovely post and I enjoyed the perky Pol­ly­anna image of the quince, which had nev­er struck me before, but since you men­tioned it sounds per­fectly apt.
    I remem­ber quinces from my child­hood and my fath­er always hope­ful that someone would make them into quince jelly for him. I think we did once as I remem­ber the taste very clearly, but my moth­er was usu­ally way too busy for jam and jel­ly­ing.

    • There’s some­thing rather Pinter-esque about your fath­er wait­ing for quince jelly! Hope­fully, he taught him­self how to do it and then didn’t need to wait any­more.
      I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post, Kit — thanks very much for leav­ing a com­ment, which I always enjoy.

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