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History Cookbook: Marmalad (quince or plum)

This recipe is in categories Stuarts, Desserts, Vegetarian
About this recipe
Healthiness : (99 votes)
Difficulty:  5 out of 5 difficulty
Comments: Judging the correct moment to pour the marmalad takes some experience. This is a recipe for an experienced cook.

Boiling sugar and fruit syrup is extremely hot, great care should be taken when preparing jams and preserves.

If you should accidentally burn yourself, put the burn under cold running water for at least 3 minutes.
Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1-2 hours
Number of servings: 1 lb of fruit makes approximately 2 sheets of marmalad.
Serving suggestions: Serve at the end of a meal with crystalised flowers or on their own.
This is a vegetarian recipe

Sweetmeats were served at the end of a meal and were often time consuming to make and took considerable skill to prepare.

Queen Elizabeth was very fond of sweets and was given a chessboard made of dark and light marmalad squares with marchpaine (marzipan)pieces.

Sugar was still an expensive luxury, although its availabilty had increased. Sugar was purchased in a sugar loaf which is one large set piece. Pieces were chipped off and ground as needed.

Any fruit could be used to make marmalad although plums, pears, quinces and medlars set very well. Marmalad came to be increasingly made with new, lavish ingredients such as oranges and the word marmalade has its origins in this dish.

To make a quince marmalad;
Boyle your quinces till they bee very soft in water, then take them up, pare them & way to it every pound of it a pound of sugar, boyle it till it come to candy, then put in the pap of quinces & stir it well together, and put it in boxes and dry it and so keep it. From Elinor Fettiplace's Receipt Book
  • 1 lb fruit eg plums
  • 1lb sugar
  • Weighing scales
  • Knife
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Plate
  • Cloth
  • Baking paper
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Remove the stones from the plums and roughly chop the plums. (If using quinces they will need to be simmered in a little water until they begin to soften before moving on to the next step)
  2. Put the plums into the pan and pour on an equal weight of sugar
  3. Put the heat on low so the sugar does not scorch. The liquid will come from the plums
  4. Increase the heat once all the sugar has dissolved. The aim is to evaporate as much liquid as possible before setting point is reached but don't allow the preserve to burn 
  5. Keep a watch on the pan at all times, stir frequently with a wooden spoon
  6. Once the preserve is thick and begins to darken a little, increase the heat. 
  7. Use a cold plate to test the setting point. It is ready once the cooled preserve does not run at all
  8. Immediately remove from the heat and pour onto sheets of baking paper. Be careful to allow room for the preserve to spread without running off the edges
  9. Allow the preserve to cool
  10. It should now be left drying for 6-8 months, well covered to avoid flies and dust 
Shorter Method: this creates a sweet a little like Turkish delight:
  1. After 9 above - once the preserve is cool - cut the still sticky but cold preserve and roll into balls. You need lightly greased hands to stop it sticking to you
  2. Drop the balls into a tub of icing sugar   
  3. The balls need to stay in the sugar until you are ready to serve them
Marmalad (quince or plum) - print view  Marmalad (quince or plum) - print view

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