And a little help from Nostradamus. No really Nostradamus.
Part 2 Chapter XV To make a quince jelly of superb beauty, goodness, flavour and excellence fit to set before a King, and which lasts a good long time.
Take whatever quinces you like, as long as they are fully ripe and yellow.
Cut them up into quarters without peeling them (for those who peel them do not know what they are doing, since the skin enhances the smell), and divide each quarter into five or six pieces.
Remove the seeds, because the fruit will turn into jelly perfectly well without them.
As you are cutting them up, place them in a basin full of water, for unless they are plunged into water the moment they are cut up they will turn black.
Once they are cut up, boil them in a good quantity of water until they are well done, almost to the point of shrivelling up.
When they have boiled thoroughly, strain this liquid through a thick piece of new linen and squeeze the whole preparation through it as hard as you can.
Then take this decoction, and if there are six pounds of it, take one and a half pounds of Madeira sugar and put it into the decoction, and bring it to the boil over a gentle charcoal fire until you see that.
towards the end, it is reducing in volume considerably.
Then damp the fire down, so that it does not burn at the sides -- which would give a bad colour to the jelly.
Then, when it is nearly done, and so as to know when it is done perfectly, take some of it with a spatula or silver spoon and put it on a platter, and if you see that when it has cooled it comes off as a globule, without sticking either here or there, then it is done.
Take it off the fire and wait for the scum on the top to settle, then pour the still-hot liquid into small wooden or glass containers.
And if you want to write or gouge something on the bottom of the container, you can do so, for it will be seen easily [through the jelly].
For the colour will be as diaphanous as an oriental ruby.
So excellent will the colour be -- and the taste even more so -- that it may be given to sick and healthy alike.
There was no trouble getting the jelly up to 222 as the recipe recommended, and I was a little concerned because it didn't convincingly pass the saucer test, but it seems to be gelling nicely in the jars.
The paste was another matter. I burnt the bottom in the first pan. Switched to a second pan. Managed to get it to touch 200 or so but then it started burning again so I gave up and threw it in a parchment lined baking dish in a 225 oven as suggested by some of the modern recipes I'd seen. Almost 2 hours later it was around 214, which I'm calling good enough, and it's cooling on the window sill. We'll see how that works out. Worst case I'll spoon blobs in to jars and it will still taste amazing.