Lately, I've had quince on the brain. I've always been a little intimidated by this fall specialty, but recent articles in the LA Times and on Good Food had me convinced that I needed to try cooking with it immediately.
Quince can only been eaten cooked. My initial thought was to try them in a savory recipe, but then I came across a sweet recipe that used quince paste in it, so I decided to make my own (that's just how my brain works). This paste didn't get as deep a color as I would have preferred or as firm in texture, but the flavor more than makes up for those minor faults. It's sweet with a hint of tang from the lemon and a floral essence. It is delicious spread on crackers with a slice of manchego cheese and I'm excited to use this in the other recipe I had planned. It's great that it lasts so long and I'm definitely going to be sharing this with friends at our Thanksgiving feast!
One year ago: Umbrian Lentil Stew with Olive Oil Fried Eggs
Two years ago: Foodbuzz Festival: Day 1
Three years ago: Persimmon Crisps
Membrillo (Quince Paste)
(Adapted from Use Real Butter, Simply Recipes, and Always Order Dessert)
4 pounds quince, washed, cut, and cored
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Peel of 1 lemon (yellow part only)
Lemon juice (depends on how much quince puree you end up with)
Sugar (depends on how much quince puree you end up with)
Butter or cooking spray as needed
Place the quince, vanilla bean, and lemon peel in a large pot. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the fruit by 1 inch. Bring to a bowl, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the quince is fork tender, 30-40 minutes.
Drain the quince. Discard the water and vanilla bean, but keep the lemon peel. Transfer the quince and lemon peel to a food processor and puree until smooth. Measure the amount of puree you have (I got six cups). Add one cup of sugar for each cup of quince paste. Depending on your tastes add 1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for each cup of puree (I used 6 tablespoons). Add the puree, sugar, and lemon juice back to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook, until the puree has thickened and darkened in color, stirring often, for 45 minutes to an hour.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper. Butter or spray the paper well. Pour the puree into the prepared pan and make sure it has spread evenly. Bake the paste for 1-2 hours so it can dry out. Remove the pan from the oven and peel off the parchment paper. Let the paste cool. Once cool, wrap the paste in plastic wrap and foil. It will last up to a year in the refrigerator.