The quince is an old-fashioned fruit that grows well in Britain. In the autumn, try making your own membrillo. Cut up approximately 2 kg quinces, place in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer until the fruit is soft and can be mashed. Strain off any excess water and put the quinces through a mouli or sieve, getting rid of any core or pips. Weigh the puree and measure out an equal quantity of sugar. Place both the sugar and puree in the same (but washed) saucepan and return to the hob over a low heat. It is necessary to stir the mixture almost constantly, otherwise it might catch and burn. Let it bubble slowly (trying not to burn your stirring arm) until it has turned deep maroon in colour. This can take a while. Taste and add some lemon juice if it is very sweet. Pour on to a tray or dish lined with grease-proof paper, to a depth of 2-3cm. Put in a warm, dry place to cool completely and set.
4 medium quinces (about 800g)
1/2 bottle (375ml) of white wine
350g caster sugar 400ml water
1 vanilla pod
juice of 1/2 lemon
Wash the quinces and, if they are furry ones, rub off the fur under running water. Place the whole quinces in a pan with the sugar, vanilla pod and wine. Cover with foil and a tight-fitting lid and simmer gently on a very low heat for 31/2 hours, until they’re really soft and a burnt-orange colour. Push the mixture through a sturdy fine sieve, or a mouli, while still warm. Sieve again if the texture of the pureed quince is still too gritty. Stir in the water and lemon
juice and leave to cool completely. Place in an ice-cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
3 medium quinces (about 600g)
4cm piece of cinnamon stick
juice of 1 lemon
1 litre water
200g caster sugar
16g leaf gelatine
Peel the quinces and, with a sharp knife, cut each one into 8 long wedges and cut the core from each wedge. Toss them in the lemon juice as you go, to keep them from going brown. When all are done, put them in a saucepan with the sugar, cinnamon and water, cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer on the lowest heat for 21/2 hours, until the liquid is a rosy pink. Using a slotted spoon, gently lift the wedges into a jelly mould (a bowl will do fine), leaving all the liquid behind. Strain it and measure out 800ml, discarding any left over. Soak the gelatine in cold water for 3 minutes, until soft. Squeeze dry and stir it into the hot syrup until completely melted. Pour the syrup over the quince and leave to cool, then refrigerate overnight. Stand the mould in hot water for a few seconds before you turn this delicate, fragrant jelly out on to a plate.