Auntie Loulla (Loulla Astin) is my mother’s sister and the award winning restaurateur of the famous Kosmos Greek Taverna in Manchester. Her career has seen her cook on TV many times, including presenting her own cookery series on SKY and she was even invited to meet The Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Here she shares her fabulous Quince Jelly recipe. My husband Peter took the photo, isn’t it stunning?!
Quinces are the most beautiful of all fruits with a strong aromatic perfume. The ancient Greeks considered quinces to be the symbol of fertility and dedicated them to the goddess of love.
The fruit was regarded as the symbol of Love and Happiness, and there was the bridal custom of a quince being shared by a married pair. Quinces sent as presents, or shared, were tokens of love.
The custom was handed down, and throughout the Middle Ages quinces were used at every wedding feast. Many healing properties were attributed to the quince: in Medieval times, Europeans thought quinces aided digestion, and a syrup prepared from the fruit was used as addition to drinks in sickness.
The jelly is easy to make and is perfect on toast, scones or served with rich meats and game. It also makes excellent Christmas presents.
2 kilo (4lb) quinces
1 kilo (2lb) sugar
The Juice of ½ a lemon
2 scented geranium leaves or 1 tbsp rosewater
Using a sharp knife, chop up the whole quinces. Put them in a large saucepan and pour over just enough water to cover the fruit.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the flesh is very soft. Put into a jelly bag or a piece of muslin tied at four corners suspended over a large bowl.
Leave for several hours to drip slowly and do not force the pulp through by squeezing or the jelly will be cloudy. (By the way, do not discard the pulp, use for the following recipe, (quince paste below).
You should end up with 1.8 litres of juice.) Measure the liquid if you like, for every pint (570ml) of liquid, you will need 1 lb (450g) of sugar.
Pour the liquid into a preserving pan or a large stainless steel saucepan with the sugar, lemon juice and geranium leaves (if you are using them) or rosewater.
Bring it slowly to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves then boil rapidly without stirring until setting point is reached which should take 15 minutes.
Skim off the foam from time to time. To test, place a saucepan in the fridge to get very cold and place a few drops of the jelly in-when cool it should wrinkle when you push it with your fingertips.
Cool slightly and then pour into hot sterilized jars, cover with waxed discs, seal and label.