As an Elizabeth David devotee and a quince fanatic, this was one I simply had to try this year, a recipe apparently first brought to light in 2011 by the UK’s Independent on Sunday newspaper with the then claim that it had never been published before:
Elizabeth David’s QUINCE AND HONEY SORBET
This is quite a trouble to make, but worth it to addicts of the strange flavour and wonderful perfume of quinces.
First bake six fine, ripe unpeeled quinces in a covered pot in a low oven until they are soft. Add no water. This preliminary cooking will take about one hour to one hour and a half.
Peel, slice and core the fruit, putting the parings and cores into a saucepan but discarding any bruised or damaged parts of the fruit.
Cover the cores and peel with cold water – about 1.2 litres (2 pints). Boil hard for a few minutes, until the water is well-flavoured and coloured with the quince parings. Strain through a fine sieve into a large bowl or jug. Return this quince water – there will be 750ml (114 pints) – to the saucepan. Add the sliced fruit – there should be approximately 1lb/450g – and let it boil for about 10 minutes until quite soft. Now add eight tablespoons of honey and boil until the juice has turned to a light syrup which just drops from the spoon.
Puree the whole mixture in the blender and chill in refrigerator. Immediately before freezing give the puree another quick whirl in the blender adding a good 300ml (12 pint) of whipping or double cream.
The quantities given will yield about 1.2 litres (2 pints) of mixture, too much for freezing all at once in a small-scale sorbetiere, but since it is hardly worth cooking fewer than six quinces at a time, the best course is to divide the prepared puree into two parts, adding cream only to the amount to be frozen. The rest of the puree will keep for a few days in the refrigerator. Again, add the cream only immediately before freezing.
Note: Instead of double cream try using buttermilk, or half and half fresh home-made yogurt and cream. The flavour of quince is powerful enough to stand up to the acidity of buttermilk and yoghurt.
My verdict: I did not find it “quite a trouble to make” at all, but then I will go a long way with a harvest of quinces! A wonderfully creamy autumn sorbet that found favour with Hermann the German and Mini-Kraut too.