Monday, November 16, 2009

at long last

This quince saga has come to a close. Thank goodness. The lesson learned: patience. You cannot rush the cooking of a quince, waiting for it to turn that lovely blood orange red color. I must tell you that out of the four different recipes I found they all said the final cooking time of the puréed mixture would take 1 hour. Well, mine took a little over 3 hours. Yes, it was a labor of love. I didn’t have to hover over the stove, but I didn’t go very far…checking email…load of laundry…etc.

So my ruby red squares of deliciousness have been packaged up neatly in parchment paper ready to be shared. The simplicity of this sweet treat paired with the traditional Manchego cheese is a wonderful beginning to a meal or even as a dessert course.

So for those of you that might be in possession of some quince or that are interested in giving this a whirl, here is the recipe I ended up using.


Quince Paste
From Simply Recipes

4 pounds quince, washed, peeled, cored, roughly chopped
1 vanilla pod, split
2 strips (1/2 inch by 2 inches each) of lemon peel (only the yellow peel, no white pith)
3 Tbsp lemon juice
About 4 cups of granulated sugar, exact amount will be determined during cooking

1 Place quince pieces in a large saucepan (6-8 quarts) and cover with water. Add the vanilla pod and lemon peel and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook until the quince pieces are fork tender (30-40 minutes).

2 Strain the water from the quince pieces. Discard the vanilla pod but keep the lemon peel with the quince. Purée the quince pieces in a food processor, blender, or by using a food mill. Measure the quince purée. Whatever amount of quince purée you have, that's how much sugar you will need. So if you have 4 cups of purée, you'll need 4 cups of sugar. Return the quince purée to the large pan. Heat to medium-low. Add the sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add the lemon juice.

3 Continue to cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 1-1 1/2 hours (or up to 3 in my case), until the quince paste is very thick and has a deep orange pink color.

4 Preheat oven to a low 125°F (52°C). Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper (do not use wax paper, it will melt!). Grease the parchment paper with a thin coating of butter. Pour the cooked quince paste into the parchment paper-lined baking pan. Smooth out the top of the paste so it is even. Place in the oven for about an hour to help it dry. Remove from oven and let cool.

To serve, cut into squares or wedges and present with Manchego cheese. To eat, take a small slice of the membrillo and spread it on top of a slice of the cheese. Store by wrapping in parchment paper, foil or plastic wrap, and keeping in the refrigerator.

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