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Membrillo


Heather
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This week, I'm going to make my annual batch of membrillo with the quinces I bought at the Dupont Market this morning.
Zora, I love membrillo but haven't tried to make it. Seems like it shouldn't be too difficult. Do you have a recipe? My Spanish cookbooks all talk about it but don't have recipes.
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Zora, I love membrillo but haven't tried to make it. Seems like it shouldn't be too difficult. Do you have a recipe? My Spanish cookbooks all talk about it but don't have recipes.

I don't have a recipe, per se, just a method. I peel, core and slice the quinces, just barely cover with water and add sugar--how much sugar? Like a simple syrup level of sweetness. Some lemon juice. And grated lemon peel-- a T. per two or three quince. I add more lemon zest later on. Then cook on low heat until the quince starts falling apart. Then puree, and reduce and thicken on low heat. This is tricky, it has to be done on low heat with frequent stirring so it doesn't burn. When it is very thick, I add some more grated lemon peel, and pour it into a parchment-lined baking dish and put it into a very slow oven (I use the convection fan, with the door propped open). When the top is firm, I put another piece of parchment on the top and flip it, put it back in the oven for a bit, then peel off the top parchment and let that side dry out. I like to slice membrillo very thin, so I like it to be quite dry with intense flavor. This means flipping it a couple of times to dehydrate it--mine ends up being sort of like thick fruit leather, but you could make it more jam-like with less dehydrating.

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You serve membrillo with cheese, I guess? This is also very common in Portugal, where it's called marmelada. This interesting word comes from the Portuguese marmelo, which means quince. How the derivative English word "marmalade" came to mean not quince paste but a preserve of citrus rind is a mystery to me. I suspect the French.

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You serve membrillo with cheese, I guess? This is also very common in Portugal, where it's called marmelada. This interesting word comes from the Portuguese marmelo, which means quince. How the derivative English word "marmalade" came to mean not quince paste but a preserve of citrus rind is a mystery to me. I suspect the French.

Thanks for the etymology. Interesting. I serve it more specifically with sheep milk cheese, a particularly felicitous pairing. Manchego and membrillo are the traditional twosome, but it's really good with any salty sheep milk cheese.

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