A quince pye

A very short but sweet recipe for quince pie:

A Georgian recipe for quince pie from the Cookbook of Unknown Ladies.

A Georgian recipe for quince pie from the Cookbook of Unknown Ladies.

A Quince Pye

First pare them & core them & half bake them as you do pears. Then lay them in yr pye with sirrop of black berrys & no other liquour, some shread orange peel that has bee boyled tender & some stiks of cinnimo[n]. Appels are good don this way in a pye.

Quinces are quite astringent in flavour, but our unknown ladies would have added plenty of sugar to the fruit before ‘half baking’ them like pears. There are only three additional ingredients – blackberry syrup, orange zest and cinnamon sticks – but each brings a distinctive flavour, making for an aromatic filling.

As so often with recipes in the Cookbook, there are many omissions in the method. How much blackberry syrup? How many cinnamon sticks? And, most significantly, there is no mention at all of pastry!

We’d suggest using a shortcrust pastry for this dish. About 1kg of quinces should make enough filling for a generous family pie, and you’d need about 100g or so of sugar to offset their tartness (reduce the sugar somewhat if you’re substituting apples for quinces). As for the berry syrup, orange and cinnamon, It is really down to personal taste. When you’re satisfied with your flavour balance and have sealed the filling with a shortcrust lid, we think 1 hour at 180°C should do the trick.