Quince Paste (Membrillo) A Must for Your Holiday Cheese Plate

by Pamela

quince paste, membrillo, cheese plate, what is quince paste
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This rock hard fruit that looks like the love child of an apple and a pear is called a quince. While apples and pears are great to eat straight out of hand, no prep necessary, the quince isn’t quite the fresh eating fruit. To really enjoy quince, you need to cook it a little bit. From poaching, braising or boiling until soft then baking, this odd looking fruit releases its sweet and floral flavors (and rosy pink color). Cook it a little bit more, with the addition of some aromatics and sugar and you’ve got yourself quince paste (aka membrillo) that is a perfect addition to your holiday cheese plate.

I don’t remember the first time I had quince paste. I do know that I ate about 3 pounds of the stuff when I was in Madrid a couple of years ago. Oh, the multiple pounds consumed were paired with probably 6 pounds of Manchego cheese (a Spanish cheese). A 2 to 1 ratio of cheese plus anything else is the proper ratio in my book.

In Spain, quince paste is known as Membrillo or dulce de Membrillo. You can also find this deep rose colored paste here in the states at cheese shops and some higher end grocery stores. Of course, you’ll also pay quite a bit for your find. Fortunately, it’s easy to make this sweet treat.

What is quince paste

I won’t sugar coat it (there’s plenty of sugar coursing through our veins right now), while this is a ridiculously easy recipe to make…it does take some time and attention. But given how cold it’s getting in parts of the country right now, you might be looking for any way to get yourself a little warmer right about now. Yeah, drinking a hot toddy is a much easier way to warm up, but this quince paste will last a lot longer. ;)

Every time I make quince paste, I do it a little bit differently. Changing up some of the subtle flavors of membrillo makes it a little different every year.  After making this a few years ago, I have requests to bring it to every holiday gathering we have with our friends.  It’s nice not having to think about what to bring to a party. I just grab a big piece of quince paste from my fridge, pick up a chunk of Manchego cheese from the store and a box of crackers – Done!

Oh, I almost forgot to mention…Once you make up the quince paste, you just wrap it up and store it in a zip top plastic bag that you keep in your refrigerator. It lasts for a year, so your effort is well worth it.

Quince Paste (Membrillo) Recipe

So make your life a bit easier, and your cheese plate a little fancier this holiday season and make up a batch of this quince paste. I’m sure you’ll be hooked and it will become an addition to your annual cooking.

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 Spending three weeks with a combination of in-laws and parents teaches you a lot of things.

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Andrea October 28, 2014 at 11:38 am

This recipe is listed as diet type: vegan. Has anyone tried using coconut oil to grease the pan? How much does that affect the flavor?

Pamela October 28, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Hi Andrea, coconut oil will work great in this recipe. Since you only need enough of the oil to grease up the paper, you shouldn’t notice any flavor change. I intermix the type of oil/fat I use all the time.

sippitysup November 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm

I have made the mistake of tasting a raw quince. I remember thinking, “how bad can it be?” Wowza, it’s astringent. GREG

Pamela November 29, 2012 at 8:50 am

Yep, everyone’s got to try it thinking the same thing. ;) Also like trying to eat fresh olives – GAG!

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