This mildly peppery jelly tastes good and looks superb – pink peppercorns and slivers of quince suspended in sparkling rosy red jelly. It’s delicious with cheese or cold meats, especially pork and ham.
The jelly is relatively simple to make since there is no need to peel or core the quinces. However, be sure to allow enough time for steeping and straining the juice.
Set aside one small quince or half a large one. Without peeling or coring them, slice the remaining quinces into quarters or eighths, depending on size. Chop each segment into two or three chunks.
Put the chopped fruit, pips, peel and all, into a large, stainless steel saucepan or preserving pan. Pour in enough water to just cover. Bring to the boil, then boil for 45–55 minutes until the fruit is soft. Remove from the heat, cover and leave in a cool place to steep for up to 24 hours.
Dampen a jelly bag, then suspend it over a large bowl. Tip the quinces and their liquid into the bag and leave to drip, undisturbed, for several hours or overnight.
Coarsely grate the reserved quince (see cook’s notes), pressing hard on the grater to make long slivers rather than a mush.
Measure the quince juice and pour it into a large saucepan. Add the peppercorns, a good squeeze of lemon juice and enough sugar and grated quince for the amount of juice. Stir with a wooden spoon over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the juice to the boil, then boil rapidly, without stirring, until set (105°C/220°F on a sugar thermometer).
Skim off the froth with a large metal spoon and pour into warm sterilised jars. Seal and cover, then store in a cool place.
© 2008 Christine McFadden. All rights reserved.