Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quince paste (all's well that ends well)

Quince paste was on the ever-growing-never-ending list of things I want to create. Have you tried it? It's addictive and it's it's been on my mind ever since I first tried it at a party right before I left California. A friend brought a small piece that a friend of hers had made and then just a few weeks ago my sister-in-law served some when we visited. It never fails to amaze me just how much yummy goodness is out there just waiting to be stumbled upon. Like the grilled corn and roasted delicata squash dish with a dab of garlic aioli I had a few weeks ago or the out of this world locally produced rosemary smoked bacon a friend got her hands on. In all my years of wine drinking and cheese nibbling I can't figure out how this luscious treat never revealed itself to me. Anyways, I checked a few cheese counters in my area and found lots of fig paste but no quince so I decided to try and make my own. Once I started researching recipes I realized just how magical this fruit is. It looks like a cross between an apple and a pear with very firm white flesh which is not edible raw. As the fruit cooks (with sugar and lemon juice) it transforms from tough and white to a rosy, velvety aubergine. Things seemed to be going pretty well in steps 1-5 pictured above but then things took a turn for the worse. After an hour of cooking I felt the paste was not deepening enough in color (it was a gorgeous pinky-apricot color but not aubergine) and it didn't seem to be "set" enough to pour into my mold. So I cross referenced a few other recipes and turned up the heat and stirred and in an instant it was "too set" and I had glue instead of paste. The pan, the wooden spoon, the mold I used all required repeated soaking and scouring to get clean (a big shout out to C for helping with that). I was determined to serve quince past to my company last weekend so back to the store I went. And right there prominently displayed in the cheese area was a lovely tower of "Membrillo" (quince paste). It didn't take more than a second for me to scoop a few packages up along with some Manchego cheese and a bottle of Cava....delish!

ps: if you've made quince paste and have any tips I'd love to hear them : )


bridgette said...

I buy mine in the latin section of the grocery store. Yes, at your local Jewel or Dominick's :)

I make some really yummy empanadas filled with that and cream cheese.

I also have a great recipe for quince and pear bread pudding. I make it every Thanksgiving since that's the only time I can ever find a quince in the market. yum!

bridgette said...

Oh I meant to mention that it is actually is edible raw. I don't know why people in the U.S. say you can't eat it raw. My mom did when I was growing up. She'd sprinkle salt on it. Maybe certain varieties are edible?

chrissy said...

i love every bit of you dear beth.
every bit.
so sorry that i can.t help one bit in the quince paste department...i have never even bought a quince...shutter! please still be my friend.
but, bridgette has now peaked my interest in her quince and pear bread pudding or quince and cream cheese empanadas...

stephanie levy said...

oh well, no tips here - but at least it was maybe an interesting learning experience :) or a good story for your blog! good luck and happy fall!

Pixie Campbell said...

i love this stuff. i could eat it on a shoe. it goes so well with savory yummies like the empanadas i wish bridgette would invite us both over for.

Leililaloo said...

Hmmmmmm, the yummyness drippes off the page..even if i only understood half of what you were saying (#my english doesn't reach that far)