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Quince Jelly and Membrillo

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November 6, 2016 / International / By
Anna

I am always looking for simple dishes and was delighted to find that I could make two distinct dishes out of the same fruit. The fruit in question is the quince, an old fashioned fruit I always think. Perhaps this is because until recently the only person I knew who grew quinces was my dear old grannie.

However, they seem to have had something of a renaissance in the past decade. I found some beautiful, waxy-skinned quinces for sale in a supermarket in rural France recently and leapt at the chance to buy some. The checkout operator was flummoxed by them. He had to ask for help to identify and weigh them. Once I got them home they became part of a delicious lamb dish to share with friends.

Then last week, having asked my friend with the quince tree if she had any to spare and been told I was too late, I found them in my local supermarket here in Umbria. These ones were more furry than the quinces in France and one of them actually had a bug in it, rather unusual for bought fruit. I took it as an indicator that they had not been sprayed, so a good thing.

One of the reasons people shy away from quinces is that they always have to be cooked. There is nothing appetizing about a raw quince. Get your head around that and you have access to a range of unusual flavors that will surprise your friends and family.
So let's get on with this two-for-one recipe.

Quince Jelly

  • 1 - 1.5 kg of quinces
  • Sugar (quantity explained below)
  • Water
  • Juice and zest of a lemon

Peel, core and chop the quinces. This is the tough part as quince flesh is stiff and the cores are more so. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil.

Boil until the flesh is soft - about 40 - 60 minutes.

Drain through a cotton or muslin cloth. Resist any temptation to squeeze the cloth as this can cause the jelly to be cloudy. Leave the fruit cloth draining over night if possible or for 4 hours at least. This ensures you get all the liquid.

Put the cooked fruit pulp aside for the next recipe.

Measure the quantity of liquid and add 75 grams of sugar for every 100 mls of liquid. Add the lemon juice and zest and bring to the boil. Boil gently until the jelly forms a skin when tested on a cool saucer. This could take 20-60 minutes or more. Store in sterilized jars. It is good with cheese, some meats such as lamb, in panini in place of chutney, or as a spread.

Membrillo

Weigh the left over fruit pulp and add 75 grams of sugar for every 100 grams of fruit.

Add the zest of a lemon (optional). Slowly bring to the boil; take care not to let the fruit scorch. Boil very gently until the fruit mix has thickened so that it leaves a track in the paste when you stir it. It will also darken in color to a dark peach.

Pour it into a flat tray or shallow container, cool and refrigerate. The next day cut into bite-sized squares and store in a covered container in the fridge. I sometimes leave mine uncovered for a few days in the fridge to dry it out more.

It is perfect with cheese, or as an accompaniment with a low sugar cake such as a chestnut cake. I also use it with pulled pork. 

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Country: Italy

Province/State: Umbria

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Price Guide:N/A (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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