“To make Quiddany of Pipins, of an Amber or Ruby Colour: Pare the Pipins, and cut them into Quarters, and boil them in as much Water as will cover them, till they are soft, and sink in the Water, then strain the Pulp. Take a Pint of the Liquor, and boil it with half a Pound of Sugar, till it appears a quaking Jelly on the Moulds. When the Quiddany is cold, turn it on a wet Trencher, and slide it into Boxes. If you would have it of a red Colour, let it boil leisurely, close covered, till it is red like Claret.“
Elizabeth Cleland, A New and Easy Method of Cookery (1755)
The recipe above seems to be based on an earlier one from A Queen’s Delight, Or The Art of Preserving, Conserving and Candying (1671) by an anonymous author, which is actually a little clearer:
“To make Quiddony of Pippins of Ruby or any Amber colour.
Take Pippins, and cut them in quarters, and pare them, and boil them with as much fair water as will cover them, till they be tender, and sunk into the water, then strain all the liquor from the Pulp, then take a pint of that liquor, and half a pound of Sugar, and boil it till it be a quaking gelly on the back of a spoon; so then pour it on your moulds, being taken out of fair water; then being cold turn them on a wet trencher, and so slide them into the boxes, and if you would have it ruddy colour, then boil it leasurely close covered, till it be as red as Claret Wine, so may you conceive, the difference is in the boiling of it.“
According to the Foods of England Project, which provides two further 17th century receipts to follow, a Quiddany is a “very thick fruit syrup, almost a jelly or a jam”, although the recipe above seems to result in a quiddany that’s quite a bit firmer. I’m not sure whether sliding it into boxes is meant to shape it or store it or both, but it doesn’t seem as though it would keep too long, so maybe it’s actually a serving suggestion?
Any guesses or suggestions are most welcome, via the comments. And of course, if you decide to have a go at making your own Quiddany, please do let me know how you get on, either via the comments, or by emailing me with your notes and photos.