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.