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Membrillo (Quince Paste).
Chop the quinces – there’s no need to peel or core them, but make sure the fur you sometimes find on their skin is washed off – and put them in a large saucepan with just enough water to cover.
Simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the flesh is really soft and collapsing.
Push the mixture through a sieve with the back of a wooden spoon, then measure the purée – there should be just under 1 litre.
Put the purée back in the pan with 450g sugar for every 600ml of purée.
Heat gently, stirring from time to time to help the sugar dissolve, then bring to the boil and cook gently for 30–40 minutes or until the mixture is so thick that if you scrape a wooden spoon through it, the purée parts and leaves a clean line at the bottom of the pan.
You need to stir frequently and get well into the edges of the pan to make sure you don’t leave bits that could stick and burn, and be careful not to get splashed by hot, bursting bubbles of purée.
Spread the mixture into lightly oiled dishes or moulds, or pot in clean, sterilised jars.
The membrillo will set firm as it cools and will keep for up to 6 months in the fridge.
Quince Membrillo is equally lovely, but I also like to make a jelly, which I store in little jars.
This is very easy to make.
If you haven’t a jelly bag, line a colander with a large piece of muslin standing over a bowl to catch the juice.
Serve the jelly with lamb and game dishes or just with toast and butter.
Quince Cydonia japonica belong to the same family as apples and pears (Rosaceae), the shape resembling either one.
Quinces are hard and cannot be eaten raw but they have a wonderful, fragrant flavour when cooked.
The seeds contain a high proportion of pectin so quinces make excellent jellies as do the ornamental fruit of Chaenomeles.
To me the smaller fruits of Chaenomeles are often more likely to be in the garden waiting to be put to some use in the kitchen.
Wedges of peeled quince give depth of flavour to an apple pie or crumble.
1/2 kg sugar
1/2 litre (1 pint) quince liquid pulp
Achieving the perfect results
Wipe the fruit, cut it up roughly but do not core or peel.
Put the chopped fruit in a pan, barely cover with water and simmer until soft and pulpy.
Strain through a jelly bag overnight.
Measure the liquid, for every pint add 500g granulated or caster sugar.
Add the sugar to the pan with the strained liquid and over a gently heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved. Once dissolved boil for 10 minutes.
Test for setting by spooning a little on a plate, cool for a few minutes push your finger through the jelly and if it wrinkles it is ready for setting.
The colour should be a glorious pink.
Pour into sterilized jar, seal and label.