Membrillo

For years now we have had a good crop of Quinces, locally known as Membrillo, but have not used them. After looking at several recipes we decided to have a try at making a Membrillo cheese or paste.

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First step was to collect a dozen quinces and wash thoroughly and get the downy fluff off them. Next stage was to cut out the pips and core but to leave the skin intact which has a lot of pectin. Some recipes advise to cut the skin off as well and others to leave all intact and just cut up, there are many choices.

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Then the next step is to put the cut pieces into a pan of cold water, with two large lemon slices. Just cover the quince pieces and bring to  the boil. Leave on a slow boil until very soft but intact. Some recipes have a vanilla pod included during the boil. I think the flavour is intense enough anyway, so it brings little to the final taste.

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Pour off the hot water and puree the quince pieces with a hand blender or liquidiser. Optionally you could sieve for a finer and clearer finished product. Put into large heavy pot, with two good squeezes of lemon and over a low heat stir in sugar This could be pectin added sugar for a higher chance of the quince setting or regular sugar. I used 1 kilo regular sugar to 1.6 kilos of fruit as it is sweet enough, the ratio can vary depending on your taste. Once sugar is dissolved continue on low heat until the quince thickens to a deep reddish amber colour and the mixing spoon leaves a clear line along the bottom of the pan when drawn across.

Transfer to a parchment lined shallow pan which has been lightly oiled or buttered, and spread quince paste over the surface. Put into oven at low heat (50°C) with the fan on for at least an hour or maybe even two hours to get dry and set on the pan.

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Once done, take out and let cool. Put into fridge in tupperware or similar container and let set more. Sprinkle with castor sugar if required.

Looks and tastes a bit like a fruitier turkish delight.

Great with cheese or just toast.

Trouble is if you have a tree full of the things, like me, and it does take some time to make, so where to put it all? Maybe its best to make a jam and put into jars as they are easier to store.

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