Quince are a beautiful seasonal fruit, a little hard to work with, think butternut squash, you have to be very careful they are very hard to cut, so use a sharp knife but please take your time. With the quince paste you don’t have to peel them just cut into chunks and remove pips and core. I think they are best described being between an apple and a pear. The magic happens once they are cooked, they turn a beautiful colour that deepens in time. It’s hard to say exactly how long they take to soften, and the paste can take anything between one and two hours. This recipe is how I like mine left as a paste, sort of jam like. This is a recipe perfect for a rainy day.
You can dry it out and then it can be served in slices.
Jars of the paste are perfect for gifting especially over Christmas. As with most of the chutneys I make I always have spare jars to give to friends. This is a great addition to a cheese board and is especially delicious with Manchego and Charcuterie platters. Last year I used some on a gammon joint and it was delicious. Another recipe that is also worth doing is Nigel Slaters pickled quinces from The Christmas Chronicles, again these work perfectly with ham or cheese.
They can be used in crumbles, apple pies and are also lovely poached and served with yoghurt. Have a google and you will find all sorts of recipes!!
I know quince can be hard to track down but if you have Greek/Turkish Cypriot grocers near you as I do in London then you’ll definitely find them. You could be lucky at a farmers market.
So if you’re lucky enough to find some then all you’ll need is lemon and sugar then you’ll be go to go! And of course patience and a sharp knife!
You will need: A pan to cook everything in, processor or blender and some sterilised jars.
- 5 Quince
- Granulated sugar, you will need equal quantities to puréed quince, so have a couple of bags to hand to make sure you have enough
- Juice of 2 lemons
Cut the quince into quarters then remove the pips and core. Cut into chunks.
Boil the quince with enough water to just cover, bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let them cook until fork tender. Keep an eye on them and just keep testing.
Next strain the quince. Purée in a processor or blender in batches. Once you have all the quince puréed weigh it then return it to the pan heat med/low then add the same weight in sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon juice.
Cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally for 1-2 hours until the quince paste is very thick and has turned a deep orange pink colour. It needs to coat the back of a spoon and leave the back of the spoon when you drain across with your finger. It should leave a clean line across the bottom of the pan. Be very careful when cooking because it can spit!!!
When it’s ready pour onto sterilised jars. It will keep up to a year.
Timings are difficult some recipes say 30 mins mine has always taken a lot longer. It’s worth the wait. So now is the time to get stocked up and have jars of Membrillo ready for the festive season.
TIP: Use small jars so you can put them straight on your cheese board. Keep in the fridge once opened. This recipe will make enough for you and enough to give as gifts.