Membrillo is a delicious and traditional Spanish dish. It can be made in many different ways, but this recipe will show you how to make it using fresh quince. When making membrillo, the first thing you need are some nice firm quinces that have been peeled and cored.
Membrillo is often used as a fruit spread, but the original recipe was for an Elizabethan dessert made of quince. It is typically served with cheese or other rich foods because it can be slightly tart.
Membrillo can be used in many different ways: spread on toast, eaten with crackers, layered with cream cheese (as shown below) or even paired with chocolate desserts such as tiramisu. Alternatively you could top roasted pork tenderloin!
I was surprised to learn that membrillo is often called quince cheese. It reminded me of another Spanish dish, Jamon Iberico de Bellota (quince paste with ham).
How to Make Membrillo:
To make this Elizabethan dessert you will need some nice firm quinces and a cooking pot. The first thing you want to do is peel the skin off the fresh fruit, then cut it in half and scoop out the cores using a spoon or melon baller. You can dice them up into small chunks now if desired but they’ll cook better when left whole so just slice them lengthwise as shown below. Next add your chopped pieces of peeled and cored fruit to your pot along with two cups of sugar for every two cups of fruit. Cover them with a lid and cook for about 20 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure the sugar has dissolved evenly throughout.
Now you want to add your spices (a pinch each of ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice) then pour in one cup of water or rum per every four cups of cooking liquid. Continue simmering over low heat until it becomes thickened enough so that when you dip a spoon into the mixture, it will just hold its shape as shown below before running off like syrup. This step can take some time but be patient because this is where most people go wrong by overcooking their quince paste! Once cooled down completely transfer your membrillo sauce into an airtight jar and keep in the fridge for up to a week.
Makes about one quart of membrillo sauce, or 12 servings (about ¼ cup per serving)
Prep time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 45-60 minutes Cooling Time: 20-30 minutes Total Prep/Cook Time: 90-120 Minutes
Ingredients Quince fruit (firm apples may be substituted if quinces are not available), sugar, water if necessary), cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice).
Instructions Preheat oven to 400°F or 200°C. Peel your quince with a vegetable peeler then slice into rounds that are about ½ inch thick. Combine sliced fruit along with any juices from cutting it in an oven-safe dish. Add sugar to the fruit, about ½ cup for every large quince and up to a full cup if using smaller ones. Sprinkle with whole cloves, cinnamon sticks or ground spices of your choice (nutmeg and allspice). Pour water over mixture, about ¼ cup per serving size is enough but you can add more for juicier jam. Cover tightly in foil then bake until tender when pierced with a fork – 45 minutes to an hour depending on how juicy they are at start time. Cool fully before transferring into jars/sauce containers.