Quince/Apple & Polenta/Pistachio Crumble w/ Quince Ice Cream & Membrillo Shavings


Here is a re-experimentation created in an effort to make a slightly lighter crumble as well as to use lots of my quince preserves, in this case quince jam and membrillo. I always make the ice cream beforehand or the day before for one less step to complete on the day. If you don't have a jar of Smy Goodness or another type of quince jam you could make vanilla ice cream or serve with a good quality vanilla ice cream or frozen yoghurt. I had also made the membrillo about a month prior to this pudding but you could also buy ready made membrillo or omit it all together


1 quince
2-3 apples
100g polenta
100g plain flour
100g butter, room temperature
70g sugar
handful of pistachios - finely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C.

  2. Lightly butter an ovenproof dish, I use one that is 15cm x 20cm. For a larger dish you may want to double the recipe.

  3. Peel, core, quarter and roughly chop the quince. Place the quince in an ovenproof dish top with 1 Tbsp of the sugar and shake to distribute and then place in the oven for 20 minutes. This will give the quince a head start as it requires a longer cooking time than the apple.

  4. Prepare the crumble topping by sifting the flour on to the top of the polenta. Add the sugar and chopped pistachios to the flour and polenta and stir well to mix.

  5. Add the butter and rub with clean fingertips to incorporate the butter throughout the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly texture that when pinched together will adhere to itself in clumps.

  6. Peel, core, quarter and roughly chop the apples into chunks.

  7. Remove the quince from the oven and immediately increase the heat to 180°C, add the apple to the quince and stir to distribute well. Be sure to use an oven glove and give the pan a shake so that the fruit levels out within the dish.

  8. Spoon the crumble topping on to the fruit until it has completely covered the fruit. Gently pat the crumble topping for a more compact topping.

  9. Return the dish to the oven and cook for 25-35 minutes or until the topping has gone golden brown. Remove from oven and allow the crumble to rest before serving.


200g milk
200g double cream
4 egg yolks
1 jar of Smy Goodness quince jam
vanilla seeds from half a vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp of organic vanilla extract
small pinch of salt


  1. Place the milk and vanilla seeds into a pan. Turn the heat to medium but do not allow the milk to boil. Once the edges of the milk start to bubble remove it from the heat and allow it to cool.

  2. In a bowl or jug blend together the quince jam and egg yolks and salt.

  3. Once combined slowly stir in the double cream and beat until well combined.

  4. Now add the cooled down milk to the mixture and stir until completely blended.

  5. Add the mixture to an ice cream maker and follow directions. I have used a Gaggia and a Magimix

erve a portion of the crumble on a plate or bow alongside a scoop of the ice cream and top the ice cream with very thin slices of membrillo.


Above left are jars of quince jelly and a quince cordial that I made. On the right is a pattern/print that I made from a photo of extracted quince pectin in a jug.

Quince, freesias and the crumble and ice cream.



“They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon; And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, They danced by the light of the moon”
Edward Lear


Edward Lear's characters the Owl and the Pussycat eat slices of quince with a "runcible spoon." Lear invented the word "runcible" which appears in a few of his poems and it would appear that a "runcilbe spoon" has a range of definitions from a spork, a ladle, a double sided spoon, a grapefruit spoon or a pickle spoon. Many of the above descriptions note a serrated edge which would make perfect (non)sense for an Owl and a Pussycat to easily share their slices of quince. Even post-poached the hardy quince still maintains its texture which isn't surprising if you've ever prepared quinces as they put the sharpest knife through it's paces to get through the hard flesh of the quince.

My only interaction with quince was seeing them over the church wall in the Vicar's garden in Orford and eating membrillo in Spain. After reading about their roots, travels and folklore from the Middle East and throughout I learnt that marmalade was traditionally made in the Middle East with quince and honey. In fact the Portuguese word for quince is "marmelo" and their preserve of it became know n as "marmalada" which we would recognise as quince paste or quiddany (also known as membrillo, codignat or mela cotogna in Spain, France and Italy respectively). Although we now associate marmalade with citrus fruits, it is only relatively recently that this has been the case as oranges and citrus fruits became more readily available in the 16th and 17th centuries.

This year I truly got my hands on a proper quantity of quince thanks to my friend Joshua and the quince tree in his parents garden. Joshua did all the dare-devil climbing and navigating the branches to drop the quince into my waiting hands and not my face as each quince, no matter how small, has a weight and density far heavier than expected. We gathered about 20 kilos of quince and then I carted 12 of those kilos across and up a gorgeously sunny Primrose Hill. I actually questioned this decision about half way up the hill when I was sweating, the sun was in my eye and I felt that with each step my knees might buckle under the quince on my back and in my hands.

From the 12 kilos I was able to experiment to my hearts desire with all sorts of quince recipes including quince jelly, quince "friendship" jam, membrillo, membrillo jam, quince brandy and more. My 12 kilo quince hall should have been a sign that quince are challenging yet glorious. A simple cleaning will not do with a quince but they do require a proper scrub in order to remove the fuzz that clings to them. I've found that soaking them for a bit and then going at them with a vegetable scrubber under running water is perfect and reveals their lovely, squeaky clean skin. Getting to the flesh requires strength, patience and attention as their flesh is notoriously hard to peel, chop, slice or grate. For most of my recipes I try to avoid peeling any fruit as that is where lots of the flavour and vitamins often are.

Joshua has been so generous with his quince tips for membrillo, jam, crumbles, brandy and my favourite tip of his was to pop a quince in your wardrobe and let the distinctly floral and fruity fragrance scent your clothes and linen. It's their aroma, shape, longevity, history and versatility that, in my opinion, places them at the top of the fruit kingdom. Links coming shortly for specific recipes and my attempt to respect and honour the quince so kindly given to me by Joshua and I am so grateful because this glut of quince was a highlight of my preserving year - thanks!