The first time I came across quince paste was in Australia, and I’ve been lucky enough to have had quince paste in my fridge for many years. I had to throw them away when I moved. Which was why I was so ecstatic to see fresh quinces at the store last week.
Quince the fruit looks like a pear, which was a surprise to me. I’d never googled it, for some reason in my little brain I thought it’d look like kumquats for no good reason other than the ‘q’ factor. Heehee.
This time I did google, and learned that in its raw state the fruit is inedible. Mostly it’s cooked and made into a paste or jelly. In Spain it’s called membrillo and is eaten with manchego, a hard cheese made from sheep’s millk — to the extent that it seems to be the national snack.
This quince paste recipe is straightforward but time consuming:
- peel, core and chop 6 quince fruits (about 4-5 pounds)
- cover with water and simmer for 1-1.5hrs until tender
- strain water away, blitz until smooth
- return to pan and cook for 2hrs until thick — took me longer than that
- dry in low oven (100°C is the lowest mine goes) for 12hrs — again, took me longer than that, and it never really solidified like the commercially bought ones I used to have
Oh, so worth it, so delicious. And I went especially to the new french market to get the manchego cheese. Then I spread the paste over like jam. The manchego is nice, it had a rosemary crust and a mild taste. I’m thinking I can substitute comté or gruyère to pair with the quince.