Thursday, 30 December 2010

Quince Cheese (Membrillo)

Quince is an odd old fruit. Looking not quite like a pear or an apple, hard as a rock and almost inedible in its raw form, you would think it would sit in the 'pointless foods of the world' basket. But cook it like a jam and the fruit is transformed into a delicious paste/jelly that is simply sensational with good cheese, cold meats or a baste for a leg of lamb or even a fruity addition to a stock or gravy.

The Spanish have been using this technique since day one for their 'membrillo' and they traditionally serve it with their lovely sheep's cheese manchego. Cooked into a solid form like my version it becomes a quince 'cheese' and can just be sliced into chunks and served with the cheese board. Floral and sweet, it is a surprising addition and one that blows away most chutneys that usually make the cheese board.

It can be tampered with, and an addition of chilli can be a welcome to the sweetness of the quince cheese, or add the traditional spices of Christmas such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. A blob on top of some rice pudding is classy.

If you still aren't convinced, think of our traditional apple jelly and add a floral punch and a sticky, chewy almost fruit gum type chewiness and you have the quince cheese. Delicious.

Quince Cheese (Membrillo)

Makes 2 large wedges

2 large quinces
Juice of 1 lemon
Sugar
Optional spices such as a dried chilli, cinnamon stick, cloves and a little nutmeg

1 - Cut the quince into large chunks and take out the seeds. Leave the skin intact and add to a large pan with the lemon juice. If adding spices, put them in now. Cover with just enough water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the fruit is soft.
2 - Over a bowl, pour the fruit into a sieve and using the back of a spoon, push the fruit through until all you have is the pulp left in the bowl. Measure out the pulp in a measuring jug then add the same quantity sugar.
3 - Pour back into the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for anything between 1-2 hours, stirring regularly to prevent burning and sticking. The 'jam' will turn a deep orange colour and it is ready when you run a wooden spoon down the bottom of the pan and it leaves a clean line.
4 - Pour the 'jam' into lightly oiled moulds and leave to set. It can eaten immediately once cooled or it will keep covered in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. To serve, simply tip out onto a cheese board and slice into chunks.

8 comments:

Lisa@ButteryBooks said...

I have never tried quince, I will have to keep an eye out for it at the market.

bellini valli said...

Can you believe I gave a storebought version to friends at Christmas from Portugal. Thanks for the recipe david. I look forward to finding more delicious recipes in 2011!!!

cackster said...

I noticed Quince on a few menus recently while in Oz, with things like lamb. They like sticking it in jams too. Enjoy new year and its birthday celebrations!

Magic Cochin said...

Cackster has beaten me to it...

I was going to say that Quince is a wonderful addition to a Lamb Tagine.

I usually grate quince when adding it to apple pie or a tagine, it then melts away and you won't get the grainy lumps which I like but can put some (fussy) people off what is a beautiful fruit.

Happy New Year!
Celia

Antonia said...

Happy New Year, David!

I absolutely love quince paste with cheese - so good. I've never known what else to do with it so your suggestions are extremely helpful. Rice pudding... Excellent idea!

Squishy said...

Wow your blog has had such a makeover since the last time I saw it. Looks great. Hope you are doing well? :)

BAKING COLOURS said...

David!... I don´t know how I ended here , at your blog, But I love it. Quince is one of my favorite fruits. We use a lot of quince in our recipes, here in argentina. We made a sweet tart called PASTAFROLA. It loooks like Linzer Torte bu with Frola dough and quince. We also put some of it within puff dough (hojaldre) and bake it. Them we take it in the afternoon with MATE (hot argentinian drink). Any way, we use it in many ways.It is a wonderfull product.

Kisses, love your blog!

sewa mobil said...

Very nice, thanks.