Recipe for Quince Paste (membrillo)
Membrillo or Spanish quince paste is traditionally eaten with cheese such as Manchego. Quince paste has a texture somewhere between that of stiff jelly and gumdrops.Makes about 2 1/4 pounds
4 medium quinces (about 2 pounds total)
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
2 to 3 cups sugar
Accompaniment: cheese and crackers
Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly oil a 1-quart terrine.
Scrub quinces and pat dry. In a small roasting pan bake quinces, covered with foil, in middle of oven until tender, about 2 hours, and transfer pan to a rack. When quinces are cool enough to handle, with a sharp knife peel, quarter, and core them.
In 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). Force puree through a large fine sieve into a liquid cup measure and measure amount of puree. Transfer puree to a 3-quart heavy saucepan and add an equivalent amount of sugar.
Cook quince puree over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until it is thickened and begins to pull away from side of pan, about 25 minutes. Pour puree into terrine, smoothing top with an offset spatula, and cool. Chill puree, loosely covered with plastic wrap, until set, about 4 hours.
Run a thin knife around sides of terrine and invert quince paste onto a platter. (Quince paste keeps, wrapped well in wax paper and then plastic wrap and chilled, 3 months.)
Slice paste and serve with cheese and crackers.
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