Medlars are a very old fashioned fruit that is not often used nowadays. It has been used in English kitchens since the 16th century but now is hardly known. Its origins are in eurasia but even there, it is now rare.
The fruit of the medlar has to be ‘bletted‘ (or left to soften) and the art is to catch it before it goes to far. In the picture these are just on the cusp of being ready to use.
My first attempt at using this fruit was to make Medlar Cheese. This old recipe I used is from Theodore Garrett, The Encyclopaedia of Practical Cookery found at http://www.historicfood.com/medlar%20cheese%20recipe.htm and it worked really well, so many thanks to the folk at historic foods. The process of cooking the fruit in a water bath was simple, just simmer and now and then stir until it has softened. Once done, I pushed the fruit through a wire sieve. Then added the sugar and ground allspice. It is then cooked in a pan until you can leave a clean trial with a wooden spoon through the mixture. The resulting ‘cheese’ set well and tastes initially like mildly spiced apples and custard but it lingers on and becomes more complex and interesting. It was eaten as a sweetmeat, and also served with cold meats or game, for me a good strong cheddar at Christmas.
To make Medlar Cheese you need the following:
I use small pudding moulds brushed with nut oil and then filled with the cheese and sealed with wax to keep the air out.