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(recipe, Claudia Roden)
I adore everything made with quinces. This soft, creamy, fragrant paste is another thing entirely from the industrial dulce de membrillo, the firm, dark, wine-red, usually overly sweet block that is traditionally served with cheese. It makes a marvelous dessert accompanied by a mild fresh cheese such as ricotta. It keeps for weeks in the refrigerator.
- 4 quinces (about 2¾ pounds)
- ¾ cup sugar
- Wash the quinces and scrub them if they still have the down of their skins. Put them in a baking dish and bake in a preheated 300-degree oven for about 2 hours, until soft. Let cool slightly.
- When the quinces are cool enough to handle, peel them, cut them in half, and cut out the cores with a sharp pointed knife. Cut into pieces, put in a food processor with the sugar, and blend to a soft, creamy paste.
- Pour the quince paste into a wide nonstick saucepan and cook gently for about 30 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the paste thickens and turns pink. Keep scraping up and stirring in the paste that caramelizes at the bottom of the pan — this will give the paste a stronger color and enhance the flavor.
- Pour the paste into a shallow dish, let cool, and chill in the refrigerator.
- Serve it with a spoon accompanied by a soft fresh mild cheese such as ricotta.