Spanish membrillo

It is quince season in Spain, and I was determined to try and cook something with this funky piece of fruit. It turns out that there is a Spanish specialty made with quinces; membrillo, also known as quince paste or quince cheese. It is a thick, sweet jelly made from quince. Traditionally in Spain it is eaten with nutty manchego cheese, but it also is a great addition to the cheese board that you might serve during Christmas.
Because of all the sugar, the membrillo stays good in the fridge for months, so its definitely worth to give this recipe a try.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 ripe quinces
  • sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Chinese 5-spice powder

Preparations:

  • Peel, core and chop the quinces in large pieces
  • Cook the quince pieces in a saucepan with just enough cold water to cover the pieces until they are soft, about 15-30 minutes
  • Drain the pieces, and use a stick blender to turn the pieces into a smooth puree
  • Weigh the puree before you put it into a heavy-based pan
  • Add the same amount of sugar as you have puree, and add the herbs. If you like the puree to be more fresh, you can add some lemon juice
  • Cook the puree on a very low fire until the color has turned into orange (or even a deep red depending on the type of quinces that you have), this takes about one hour. Make sure you stir regularly to prevent the paste from burning or sticking
  • Line a heat proof dish or container with cling film
  • Once the paste is cooked, let it cool slightly before you put it in the container, and even out the surface. Let the paste set in the fridge.
  • After the paste is set, you can cut it into cubes or pieces and serve it with the cheese, or use it as a jam on a piece of bread. Enjoy!

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