One could make jelly, compote, or even a wonderful Persian inspired dish, but my favorite thing to make with quince is Membrillo, or Quince Paste. In Spain it is a popular tapas when paired with cheese, preferably Manchego. Together they make a perfect marriage.The combination of sweet and salty is one of the most delicious on earth. One bite and I guarantee you will be hooked. Now you can buy prepared Membrillo at Whole Foods, in gourmet stores, or wine shops, but it is quite expensive. So why not make your own?
What is a Quince?
The quince is an ancient and hardy fruit related to the apple and pear. It is hard and tart and most varieties cannot be eaten raw. But once cooked, it becomes delightfully fragrant, taking on a rosy hue and delicate flavor. You can find quinces in late September and October.
Membrillo (Quince Paste)
4 medium quinces (about 2 pounds total)
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
2 to 3 cups sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly oil a 1-quart terrine.
Wash quinces and place in a small roasting pan. Cover and bake until fork tender, about 1 hour.
When cool enough to handle, peel, core, and chop quince and place into a food processor.
Puree pulp with 1/4 cup water until smooth (if mixture is too thick, add remaining 1/4 cup water a little at a time, as needed).
Measure the amount of puree, then transfer to a heavy saucepan and add the equivalent amount of sugar.
Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until it is thickened and begins to pull away from side of pan, about 25 minutes.
Pour into terrine or Pyrex loaf pan.
Smooth the top and once cooled, cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours until set.
Run a thin knife around sides of terrine and invert onto a platter. (Quince paste keeps, wrapped well in wax paper and then plastic wrap and chilled, 3 months.)
Serve with crackers and Manchego cheese.