Cooking Classes


Making Membrillo

Another flavour of the fall and winter season that I adore is quince. Quince is a pome like apples and pears. That means it has a core with usually 5 seeds surrounded by the fleshy fruit. Unlike apples and pears, however, quince is usually not edible without cooking. They can be rock hard. However, they are similar to apples in that they contain natural pectin.

I was delighted to find quince at my local grocery store. They make a lovely jelly or jam for toast, but I have always wanted to make membrillo. This is also called quince paste and is popular in Spain where it is paired with manchego cheese.

The light coloured flesh develops a beautiful rosy hue as it cooks.


4 pounds quince, washed, peeled, cored, roughly chopped
1 vanilla bean
2 strips (1/2 inch by 2 inches each) of lemon peel with pithy white part removed
3 Tbsp lemon juice
About 4 cups of granulated sugar

Place quince  large saucepan and cover with water. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add vanilla seeds, pod and lemon peel and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook until the quince is  fork tender (30-40 minutes).

Strain water. Discard the vanilla pod but keep the lemon peel. Purée the quince in a food processor or blender. Measure the quince purée. Add an equal amount of sugar. 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. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add lemon juice.

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.

Preheat oven to a low 125°F (52°C). Line an 8" x 8" baking pan with parchment paper. Spray a thin coating of oil on the parchment paper. 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 place it on top of a slice of the cheese. Store membrillo in an airtight container in the a cold room. It will keep for months.


  1. I had a quince at the house and never used its fruit. Had I known about this delicacy I would have made an effort.

    1. You can cook it up and add with apples and pears to add another dimension to the flavour profile.

  2. Just recently, I had quince paste for the first time, at my favorite restaurant paired with cheeses and I loved it. Soon after I saw it at Trader Joe's and I immediately bought it. This recipe is being saved because I would love to try to make it. I know that quinces trees can grow in my area of the U.S. but, not sure that I have ever seen quinces in my grocery store. I need to take a better look- Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. I was so surprised to see them that I had to buy some. Every time I see something new at the store I buy it just to support the store in being creative. Then I have to find a way to use it. This is not that difficult. Just have patience.

  3. How beautiful!
    To be truthful I had never heard of this.
    Thank you:-)

  4. I would love to make it but for some reason, quinces are crazy expensive in NYC. It would be $30 to make it so, weirdly, cheaper to buy! YOurs looks absolutely perfect. Beautiful job.

    1. I wonder how they factor the pricing on some of these things. It is not available for purchase here, so glad I can make it.

  5. I had so many quinces this year I took the quick way out and went for canning fruit, and making quick jam and jelly. The medlars though will be ready very soon and I make 'medlar cheese' with them which is the same as Membrillo. Yum yum. Have a good weekend Diane

  6. The word "membrillo" caught my eye on a different website. I have a story to tell about it. Several years ago a young Mexican student brought me for Christmas a largish, heavy, foil wrapped present. She said it was from her mother and was called "queso." Since I do speak Spanish I thought she had brought me a big cheese. I thanked her and carried my cheese home.
    When I unwrapped it I found, not cheese, but a strange purple colored jelly looking thing. I was totally mystified. I kept it in the frig for several months not knowing what I had and eventually threw it out. Later when she asked me if I liked it I had to admit that I did not know what it was. She laughed and explained that the real name is "membrillo." Of course I Googled that and found out my extreme ignorance. I never could tell her that I had discarded it. What a dunce! I only wish her mother would gift me more someday!


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