Quince cheese or quince jelly is a delicious sweet and thick preserve made of the pulp of the quince. It’s firm and sliceable, has a beautiful orange or pink colour and a very interesting, almost grainy texture. This here is just the perfect recipe for a very special homemade gift for Christmas.
Quince cheese is known in Spanish cuisine as Dulce de Membrillo and they serve it mainly as a part of a cheese platter. I know it from my grandparents, who made the most delicious quince cheese or birsalmasajt every year. I don’t think it was a widely popular thing in Hungary back then, but I remember I thought it’s the coolest thing ever. I loved those giant fruits with a heavenly scent, the magical recipe which turns them into a thick jelly and all the delicious nuts they served the quince cheese with. However this year was the first time I made this cheese myself. I always thought it is extremely difficult to make quince cheese, but it turned out just so easy, the recipe only requires 3 ingredients. Okay, it needs a bit longer time to cook and dry, but you don’t have to do a lot with it. I am sure I’m gonna make this recipe every year from now on!
This fragrant hard paste is fantastic served with soft or hard cheeses, walnuts and bread. I also love to put a few thin slices in sandwiches with beets and mustard. Quince cheese is also great to cut into small cubes and use as ‘dried fruit’, as a topping or for salads. But it also makes for a delicious soft candy. If you prefer to eat it as a dessert you can cut out cute little shapes with a cookie cutter and coat them in sugar. And it makes a lovely flavouring for apple pies too.
- 1 large quince (about 500g)
- 250 g brown sugar
- 2 small limes (or one large lemon)
- 1 rosemary or thyme sprig (optional)
- Wash quince very well, core, but don't peel, then cut into smaller pieces.
- Add quince pieces to a large pot with rosemary and juice of one lime, cover with water and cook until completely soft (it took me about 2 hours).
- Drain cooked quince and remove herbs. Using a handheld blender or a blender puree the quince until smooth.
- Transfer puree to a large saucepan, add sugar, juice of the other lime, and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer gently and stir frequently, for about half an hour or until really thick and sticky.
- Lightly grease some ramekins with coconut oil or line them with greased parchment paper. Once your paste is super thick, transfer it to the ramekins, spreading it about 3-4 cm thick. Smooth the top and allow it to cool and set completely.
- Once completely cool and set, turn the mixture upside down and air-dry it for a few days.
- Store in the refrigerator for months. Cut slices or cubes to serve. Enjoy!