lat. Mespilus germanica
hrv. Mušmula

The common medlar is a large shrub or small tree, a part of the Rosacea family. The fruit is unusual in being available in winter as well as summer, and in being eaten when bletted. It is eaten raw and in a range of dishes.

History and Origin

Despite its Latin name, meaning German or Germanic medlar, the plant is indigenous to Persia , southwest Asia and southeastern Europe – specifically the Black Sea coasts of Bulgaria and modern Turkey. Evidence point to it being cultivated for as long as 3,000 years.


Bark and leaf extracts of the medlar plant contain phenolic acids and flavonoids – compounds that help clear out harmful reactive oxygen species from within the cell. These compounds are commonly present in  fruits, but to a much lesser extent.

Medlar Tarts

A mysterious medieval fruit combined with
an well known pastry.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

400g/14.13ozs medlars, bletted*
1/2 cup water
5 tablespoons caster or superfine sugar plus 1/2 cup caster or superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Zest from 1/2 small lemon
2 eggs, separated into whites and yolks
1-2 sheets shortcrust pastry
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste extra
Golden syrup or honey to serve (optional)


  • If not, blet the medlars, one method is to place them into a brown paper bag for 1-2 weeks.
  • Peel and pit the medlars. Place them in a saucepan with the water, 5 tablespoons sugar, spices and lemon zest and simmer for 8-10 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add the egg yolks and cook through for a couple of minutes on low heat. Cool.
  • Make the pastry and preheat oven to 220C/440F.
  • Cut out pastry and place in four single serve size tins and weigh down with ceramic weights.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
    Once done carefully remove the baking weights.
  • Spoon the medlar filling in and bake for another 15 minutes.
  • Remove the tarts from the oven and turn up the oven to 250C/482F.
    Whip the egg whites in a clean bowl fitted with a whisk.
  • Add the 1/2 cup sugar gradually and then add vanilla and beat until the meringue becomes glossy and doesn’t move. Spoon on top of the tarts.
  • Bake for 5 minutes. Serve with additional honey or golden syrup.

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