Manchego y Membrillo 1

What to do with a flat of quinces? Make quince cheese (paste), for this classic Spanish appetizer!

quince and jelly

quince and jelly

I have never used quinces and could not resist trying them. There was a beautiful flat of them at Thistledown and I think they were disappointed that I bought All of them. I was not sorry. 🙂

Here’s what they look like, with some of the rosy quince jelly behind them. Daughter Laura was visiting from Madison and she brought the jar of Bacon Jam as a house gift. We haven’t opened it, will wait till she comes back to visit, hmm another day. These two quinces came after the flat was processed, from our CSA, Good Food Easy.

quince puree

quince puree

After the flat sat on the shelf for over a week, while we waited for them to soften, I gave up and decided it was time to tackle them. I compared recipes and used this one, from a blogger named Elise.

quince puree and sugar

quince puree and sugar

I was glad this was a multi-day operation, since my hands were aching after several hours of coaxing woody skin from them.

I didn’t keep my notes, but her recipe calls for 4 pounds of quinces and I finished with 11 pounds of paste. They were hard to peel and like chopping wood to core. I really want to hear from anybody who reads this- are they always like this?!

30 minutes and color is changing...

30 minutes and color is changing…

Elise has good pix of the chopped bits cooking. Mine did not turn into the pretty rosy color that I read about after they cooked and I was feeling snippy and sore about that.

I was smart enough to use the cooking water for the jelly you see. Everybody raved about the high pectin content, so I gave it a go and you should, too. It has a unique flavor, sort of tropical…

after one hour...

after one hour…

I drained and pureed the quince chunks, chilled them overnight, and started in the next morning, still wondering why they were a blah khaki color.

I decided they were happier when they started to make friends with sugar, slowly, over time, with Oh-So-Much Stirring!

after  two hours

after two hours

Then it was a marathon, with a pause for intermittent pictures.  this became a lot of stirring, since it wanted to scorch. Look at the progression of color!

three hours of stirring...

three hours of stirring…

I started wondering if Elise used higher heat, if these were oddball quinces? She recommends 90 minutes, but I kept going, holding out for the pink/orange color I saw. I still had the scraper with some of the unsweetened paste for contrast. 🙂


4 hours hot bubbles!

4 hours hot bubbles!

I was getting into serious stirring mode, reading American Nations- A History of the eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America.

I had to give up on the reading after a while because the plooping bubbles needed too much attention and they were rocketing burning tiny bits around the kitchen!

Nearly done, a little longer…watching the bubble patterns was like watching a fireplace. the chilly afternoon kitchen was toasty. quince paste to bake nov 2014

Into the prepared pan to bake! That 11 pounds of quince paste was served to friends, went to an ordination, a caroling party, and a latke party.

Manchego cheese and Membrillo

Manchego cheese and Membrillo



It was my all-purpose take-along in December. Gluten-free, pretty, interesting!



The rest went into the freezer and some showed up on the table this afternoon, slow winter afternoon, catching up on newspapers, home from a conference. Enjoy!









One comment

  1. I love membrillo and buy small pieces when ever I see it. I have never seen quinces for sale in the UK, I even seriously thought of planting a quince tree but that would take years to be fruitful. X c

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