Thursday, 19 November 2009

Making medlar cheese


Not many medlars are grown these days, which is a shame; it's an easy tree to grow, doesn't get too big, is interesting in its growth habits , has lovely foliage in the late autumn and produces the above strange little fruits. Funny little brown things with a star-shaped flat surface opposite the stem end; the French name for them is "cul de chien", which translates as dog's bottom!
The curious thing about medlars is that they are not edible until bletted - this means left to go very soft and squidgy, changing from yellowish green in their unripe state to a mid to dark brown. They can be left on the tree, when the first frost will blett them, or picked and brought into a warm kitchen and left in a warm airy place until ready.
For making the medlar cheese, the first thing you need to do is extricate teh flesh; when they are so soft, a gentle squeeze will break the skin, and you can squeeze out the flesh into a dish; there are five big seeds in there too, so just get all the insides into the dish to begin with. I then put the resulting pulp through a sieve, directly into the weighing pan of the scales. When that's done, the skins are put through a colander, along with the pulp from the sieving; this gets the pulp off that is sticking to the insides of the skins and around the pips - surprising how much more you get. Be warned, it's a very messy operation! The end products should be a heap of smooth raw pulp and a heap of dryish skins etc for the compost heap or chickens:

Weigh the pulp, and put into a heavy based saucepan; add in the same weight in white sugar, stir well, and cook over a lowish heat until dissolved:

Move the pan to a higher heat, and leave to bubble away until really, really thick - you should be able to draw the wooden spoon over the base of the pan and divide the contents, as in cooking chutney. It will plop and guggle like a volcano, and make a mess of the stove top, but it needs a long steady cook to reach the end stage, where you should have a thickened slightly grainy mass that refuses to drip from the spoon. Lightly oil your moulds - I used muffin tins, and I hope to be able to turn them out successfully, and these should give a good shape.


That's them cooling now; I'll leave them until tomorrow, covered, in the kitchen and turn them out and store them for Christmas. Some may be given as presents, tied with cellophane and a ribbon. I'm sure it would be a welcome gift, as I suspect few people have tasted it.
Any other folks grow this? If not, are you tempted?

12 comments:

Eco Gites of Lenault said...

We've have planted a medlar but have only had one fruit so far - and that disappeared! It may be a year or so then before I can make medlar cheese.

Rosie x

Simple Mama said...

interesting. I've never heard for medlar cheese before. It certainly doesn't look like any cheese I'm familiar with. :)

MrsL said...

It's a fruit cheese as oposed to a dairy cheese; I thinkt he name comes from the shape. It's really nice, a slightly grainy fruit texture.

Mrsl
xx

Kim said...

I never heard of medlar or of fruit cheese. What fruit would you compare it to. It looks a bit like a fig to me.

MrsL said...

It's unique, Kim, nothing else like it! When bletted and edible, it does resemble a fig in taste, though.

MrsL

xx

nocton4 said...

what a wonderful post, loving them medlars, have yet to find any over here in the UK but will one day on my forages.
Am loving those blankets too, what an amzing giveaway
xx

Sarah said...

I have a meddlar tree which fruits fairly well, but haven't yet been successful in making anything from them. They're bletting at the moment, so may follow your recipe or may try the River Cottage meddlar and apple jelly.

sutros said...

Not too late

The unique and perfect Christmas gift for all gourmets

www.tastingtoeternity.com

Enjoy

Peter said...

Hi, this is Anna from the Dutch Barge Ellje in Berkshire. I have been making quince cheese and marmalade for some time and recently managed to get hold of a large amount of medlar. I have read your recipe for making medlar cheese and I'll have a go at making some. The only question I have at the moment is : how can I keep the surplus and for long can it be stored?

Georgina said...

I passed my medlars through a mouli. I found this far less fiddly.pontam

Octavia said...

I've made medlar cheese but I haven't got it to set (it's back on the stove now. Did yours turn out? I mixed mine with some windfall apples to ensure that there was enough pectin. Here's hoping...

Freespiral said...

I have a bucket of bletted medlars ready for action and will give your cheese a go. How do you store them once your turn them out of the muffin tins?