By Chef Lippe
I have spent a lot of time traveling around the world and love the way Europeans do farmers markets. I love the smell and taste of warm cheese. But I was having trouble with my partner who thought ALL things needed to be refrigerated. Even after doing a little research to back up my claims it took her a while to accept that I might know what I was talking about. First I shower her an article about never refrigerating mozzarella at Serious Eats on poorly stored mozzarella she read it and said I still think you should keep a milk product in the refrigerator. So next I found a study done by JAY RUSSELL BISHOP and MARIANNE SMUKOWSKI* at the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin, and if anyone knows about cheese it is someone from Wisconsin!
Now I had her attention but what REALLY won her over was the following recipe:
Membrillo (Quince Paste) Recipe
4 pounds quince, washed, peeled, cored, roughly chopped
1 vanilla pod, split
2 strips (1/2 inch by 2 inches each) of lemon peel (only the yellow peel, no white pith)
3 Tbsp lemon juice
About 4 cups of granulated sugar, exact amount will be determined during cooking
1 Place quince pieces in a large saucepan (6-8 quarts) and cover with water. Add the vanilla pod and lemon peel and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook until the quince pieces are fork tender (30-40 minutes).
2 Strain the water from the quince pieces. Discard the vanilla pod but keep the lemon peel with the quince. Purée the quince pieces in a food processor, blender, or by using a food mill. Measure the quince purée. Whatever amount of quince purée you have, that’s how much sugar you will need. So if you have 4 cups of purée, you’ll need 4 cups of sugar. Return the quince purée to the large pan. Heat to medium-low. Add the sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add the lemon juice.
3 Continue to cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 1-1 1/2 hours, until the quince paste is very thick and has a deep orange pink color.
4 Preheat oven to a low 125°F (52°C). Line a 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper (do not use wax paper, it will melt!). Grease the parchment paper with a thin coating of butter. Pour the cooked quince paste into the parchment paper-lined baking pan. Smooth out the top of the paste so it is even. Place in the oven for about an hour to help it dry. Remove from oven and let cool.
To serve, cut into squares or wedges and present with Manchego cheese. To eat, take a small slice of the membrillo and spread it on top of a slice of the cheese. Store by wrapping in foil or plastic wrap, an keeping in the refrigerator.