Shortly afterwards, Cornflower arrived bearing a tray of breakfast for them both: nutbread, salad, milk and some of Friar Hugo’s special quince pie.-Redwall, Brian Jacques
If you’re looking to sample a taste of Friar Hugo’s special quince pie from Redwall, the perfect time to dig into the recipes is autumn. You’ll have an abundance of the hearty ingredients mentioned throughout the Redwall book, from chestnuts and quince.
Said to predate the apple, the quince is an ancient fruit, having been mentioned in Greek writings around 350BC.
The quince eventually made its way to England in the 13th century, and by the 16th century, was a common ingredient for jams, jellies and pies. With the assumption that Brian Jacques took inspiration from Medieval and Renaissance periods in England, this would explain why Redwall is laden with mentions of quince, in the form of tarts, quince and elderberry pie, and of course, Friar Hugo’s special quince pie.
Realise that quinces have a short season. In the UK, US and Canada, you’ll want to start keeping an eye out for quinces in October. In Australia, you’ll find quinces around March and April.
While quince was once a common fruit, it’s not what people would call a ‘commercial fruit’ today. If you’re looking to buy quince, think of them the same way you would an heirloom apple variety. So instead of heading to your supermarket, you’ll want to start spending time in farmers markets or speciality fruit and vegetable shops.
Because quince are tough and tart, they need to be cooked to be eaten. Which is where this recipe for Friar Hugo’s special quince pie comes in.
While making this version, I wondered what made it ‘special’. Was it a handed down a recipe from other Friars? Or was there a secret ingredient that was added? If you want to adjust the basis of this recipe, options could include a splash of sweet white wine or a dash of maple syrup, all which will complement the taste of the quince.Print