OVERNIGHT STRAINING ALERT!
This isn’t just one recipe, but two rolled into one. That’s right, you can make Quince and Lavender Jelly from the juice that’s leftover from making Membrillo. Whoop, whoop.
Off the bat, you’re gunna need; muslin, up to 3x 7×7″ baking trays, jars with lids, lots of string, two large pans and somewhere to hang the cooked quince overnight. A thermometer would also be an extremely useful thing to have.
Let us begin.
5 large quince
1 lemon, zest
1 vanilla pod
for the membrillo (the following day):
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup sugar for every cup of quince puree
25g butter, melted for brushing
for the quince and lavender jelly:
4 tbsp lemon juice
500g sugar for every 600ml of juice yielded
small bunch lavender, tied up in a bouquet garni made from a corner of your muslin
Peel, core and dice the quince, being careful to remove all foreign objects as you go. In a large pan (the second largest you have, you’ll need a really big pan for the jelly) cover the quince with water and add the lemon zest and the vanilla pod. Bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit is soft, around 35mins.
Drain the quince, remove the vanilla and tie the fruit up in muslin and hang this over your largest pan overnight.
It’s then a good idea to make the membrillo and jelly separately, as the jelly needs your undivided attention.
For the membrillo, puree the cooked quince, measure how many cups of puree you have, and transfer it back into the pan you cooked it in yesterday. Heat this a little and add the equivalent number of cups of sugar once the puree is warm. Stir with a wooden spoon and keep stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon juice, stir in and cook over a low heat for 1.5-2hrs, stirring occasionally. You will see the mixture deepen in colour while it’s cooking, and thicken to a paste.
Brush the baking trays with the melted butter and line them with greaseproof paper. Fill the trays with the paste, you will probably need two, maybe three, depending on how much paste you have, you want it about an inch and a half thick. Fill the corners, flatten out the top and try and get it as even as possible.
Whack this in the oven at its lowest setting/50°c for one hour to start the drying process. Then, leave your membrillo trays somewhere warmish for three days to dry completely.
You can get six bars from each tray you make, either cut and wrap individually or keep as a whole, just make sure it’s stored in the fridge and it will keep for a couple of months.
Now for the quince and lavender jelly, grab all that lovely juice in it’s big pan, add the lemon juice, sugar and lavender bouquet garni, and heat rapidly. At the same time, you need to sterilise your jars and lids in a hot oven, for about 10mins. Leave them in the oven until the second you are ready for them.
Now you’re going to bring the syrup up to setting point, which is 104°C for jelly and 105°C for jam, a thermometer is a really good thing to have about now. Once it has reached 104°C, and you will find that it takes much longer than expected (it kinda gains a degree, stays there for a while, then drops half a degree and stays there for a while, and so on) you need to hold it at setting point for about a minute or so, and then remove from the heat.
You now have to work extremely quickly and carefully, so it’s a good idea to be ready with lot of space already cleared for this. Remove the jars and lids from the oven and quickly fill them with the jelly using a ladle. Put the lids on being very careful as everything is very hot, once tightened fast, turn the jars upside down and leave them like this for one hour. After one hour, turn the jars the right way up again, and then leave them to set.
These recipes are courtesy of a good big potatoes friend, who pimped the jelly recipe with lavender herself – inspired move – it’s utterly delicious.