Early in the year I planted a small quince bush in my front garden. What quinces were exactly, I wasn’t sure. And what one did with them, I had no clue. When my young shrub unexpectedly produced one little piece of fruit I picked it excitedly and cut it open.
The pale flesh was very hard and tasted extremely bitter. This, I later discovered, was partly because the fruit wasn’t fully ripe yet (the skin should have been more yellow than green) but mostly because quinces don’t taste nice raw. Full stop.
When, later the same day, a friend kindly gave me a big bag full of ripe quinces I knew not to waste my time nibbling on them raw. Instead, after a little research, I decided to make quince paste. Membrillo in Spanish, quince paste is typically served with Manchego cheese. As an enormous fan of all cheese and jam combinations (cheddar and bramble jelly on toast being my favourite), I was hugely excited about this recipe.
And it did not disappointed. The tart, grainy, amber jelly was an absolute treat with the chunk of Mull brie left over from last week’s extravagances. And the best bit? There’s still heaps left!
Membrillo (Quince Paste)
2 kg quinces, skin left on, quartered and cored
500ml water (Read Jose’s advice in the comments below.)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Cinnamon stick
- Bring the quinces, water and lemon juice to the boil then reduce heat. Simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes.
- Use a handblender to puree the fruit and water.
- Weigh the purée and add to a clean pan along with an equal weight of sugar and the cinnamon stick.
- Gently heat the paste over a low heat stirring frequently.
- After 30-45 minutes the paste should be thickening. Keep a closer eye on the paste at this point, stirring continually.
- Once the paste has become thick enough to stand a spoon in and is a deep orange colour, remove the pan from the heat.
- Tip mixture into a shallow, lined baking tray or ovenproof dish. Keep in a warm place (airing cupboard or 50oC oven) for 12 hours.
- Your paste is now ready! Store in foil in an air tight container for up to a year.