Just as the leaves are beginning to turn gold and the days are that little bit shorter, the medlar fruit is at its best.  When I arrived in Kyneton, I had never heard of a Medlar or knew that it was a delicious and mysterious fruit that could be transformed into the greatest thing to ever hit a cheese board!

Medlar is a beautiful tree originating from Europe and is even quoted in Shakespeare’s plays. But you would be forgiven if you had spent most of your life walking by them unaware of their delicious qualities.  The French love them too but describe them, not so complimentary, as ‘dogs ass’ uhem, thankfully their look is the only resemblance to that one. Yes, a strange-looking fruit they certainly are, but how they are prepared is even more peculiar. When learning more about foods, it always occurs to me who the first person was who picked the fruit and thought, yep, we will leave that for a few weeks and come back to it when it is perfect.  Because that is exactly what you have to do. “To leave the Medlar to blet” is how it was first described to me. Blet? Eh?

Well on further reading, bletting the fruit is to basically place it in a box that is first lined with straw.  The medlar is placed face up in rows, then another layer of straw placed on top and so on. Once the medlar starts to soften (which usually takes about 8-10 weeks), the fruit can be enjoyed.  So what do you do with them once you have practised the art of extreme patience?

  • Medlar Jelly
  • Medlar Paste
  • Medlar Liquor
  • Medlar Cream

Medlar Paste

I love medlar paste and have introduced it to friends and many customers at The Parkland in Kyneton where we serve it on a cheeseboard with delicious local cheeses from the Ballarat/Bendigo area.

Ingredients

  • Medlars, washed
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Lemon juice

Once medlars have been washed, pat them dry and place in a large saucepan with just enough water to cover the fruit.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 – 50 mins.  Strain off the liquid first into a colander then through a fine sieve or muslin.  For each cup of liquid add 1 cup of sugar. To every 4 cups of liquid add the juice of one lemon. 

Place liquid, lemon and sugar into a large saucepan and bring to the boil stirring constantly while the sugar dissolves.  Continue boiling until it reaches setting point and then pour into clean, sterilised jars and seal.

For a clear jelly, allow the liquid to strain through without pushing the fruit through the sieve/muslin.

For a thicker cheese or paste, push through the fruit discarding pips etc and use the paste as per recipe above.  Be careful with the paste that you stir regularly to avoid it catching on the bottom of the pan.

Medlar Liquor

This is a delicious liquor with a distinct autumn flavour of roasted apples, dates and honey.

  • 500 g medlars washed and dried
  • 2 cups of good quality vodka
  • 375 g sugar

Place medlars in a large sterilised jar.  Warm vodka and sugar stirring until sugar dissolves.

Pour over medlars and seal jar.  Shake the jar every day for a week and then leave in a dark and cool place for 6 months before straining and bottling.  Makes around 3 cups.  

Medlar Cream

Scoop out medlar flesh and push through a sieve, fold through whipped cream with a teaspoon of raw honey.

Medlars picked and ready for bletting