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Friday, February 3, 2012

Quince Paste (Membrillo)

Can you believe that until just a few weeks ago I had never held a real quince? I had ordered some quince jam a while back and really liked it, but it was mixed with a few other things. I never got the true feel for what quince smelled like. Recently, I ordered a few quince in my weekly produce box. I had thought I was going to make a quince jam. When the box arrived I could smell the intense aroma of the quince, it was almost tropical. Unfortunately when I started peeling the quince, I realized they were mostly rotten already. No wonder the smell was so strong. I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with the little bits of quince I could salvage from each fruit. So, I did a little internet sleuthing and found this recipe that called for a 1:1 ratio of fruit puree to sugar. Perfect. Even if I only ended up with a little bit of puree, I cold still make a few slices of quince paste. I ended up with about a dozen total. I thought I was going to use them to serve with cheese. They were so good I ended up eating them all like candy. I really couldn't get over how good they smelled. Each time I walked past them I would catch a whiff of that scent and have to stop and eat, "just one more". Now, I just have to figure out where I can get more quince...

Quince Paste (Membrillo)
adapted slightly from Fresh

4 large quinces (you can use more or less, but adjust the lemon juice accordingly)
Juice of 1 lemon
Sugar (equal to weight of the quince)

Peel, and core the quince. Cut quince into large chunks. Place the cut quince in a large pot with lemon juice.
Cover the quince with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and cook the quince until tender, about 20 minutes.
Drain the quince and puree with an immersion blender or place in a food processor. Weigh the puree on a scale.
Place the puree and equal amount of sugar back in the large pot and start cooking on medium heat, stir occasionally. Once the mixture starts to bubble it will be very hot and can splatter up, be careful not to burn yourself. Turn quince mixture down to a low bubbling simmer. Cook for about an 45 minutes to an hour. It will take longer if you have a lot of quince. You can tell it's done when it turns a deep orange color and gets very thick.
Transfer the thick paste, into a 8 inch square baking sheet lined with parchment and let it cool. Leave out uncovered overnight to make it more solid. Use small cookie cutter, or just cut into squares with a knife.
Store at room temperature in a covered container.


  1. Membrillo is a veeery traditional sweet end of meal in Spain. Try it topped with a similar size portion of strong flavored cheese like Manchego... delish.

  2. Where did your quince grow, I wonder? Neat that you can get fresh quince in Fairbanks. Try cutting back on the sugar next time so your Dulce de Membrillo, "Sweet of Quince" (Membrillo is the Spanish word for quince) will be less like candy, and easier to cut and paired with cheeses.


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