I blogged about this strange, old-fashioned fruit, often known as the dog’s butt fruit, not so long ago. Time to revisit for some cooking with them.
Chris and I had harvested a small bag of medlars on one of our bike rides about ten days ago. Half of these were well bletted i.e. soft and mushy, so perfect to be turned into medlar cheese. I find a recipe here.
Being me I approximated with the quantities. First I mushed my squishy medlars through a sieve. This gave me about 150 g (6 oz) of purée. I licked a bit off the end of my finger and it was surprisingly pleasant – a sort of earthy, appley taste.
I stirred in a roughly equivalent weight of granulated sugar and put a teaspoon of allspice in for good measure. I mixed this together well and had another taste. Definitely better now. It’s a cross between chestnut purée and apple purée, with a pleasant tang to it.
What to do with my medlar cheese? The Victorians would have put it into little moulds and served it up in pretty shapes as a starter or an accompaniment to meat. I came up with a take on the walnut whip. I put a dollop on top of a spirit biscuit (the French version of a Viennese whirl), a coil of spray cream and topped it with a walnut. Very tasty.
I had my unbletted medlars to work with now. I cut those in half, put them in a pan and covered them with water and simmered them gently for around 20 minutes, keeping the water topped up. There was around 200 g (8 oz) of medlars so I poured that amount of sugar into the pan and added some cinnamon and grated in some nutmeg.
Then I gave it a good boil for 5 minutes or so and worked it through the sieve. I had a good bowlful of medlar jelly. This is really delicious, with a strong hint of apple but again that sweet, earthy taste that’s hard to describe.
We’ve already bought a medlar bush for the garden. It will be spending the winter in the polytunnel. However, I’ll be back on my bike tomorrow to hunt down some more medlars. I’m very impressed with them indeed.