Dulce de Membrillo – Quince Jelly

14 Nov

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are, you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are.”
Pussy said to the Owl “You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing.
O let us be married, too long we have tarried;
But what shall we do for a ring?”

They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?”
Said the Piggy, “I will”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.

They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand.
They danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon

I couldn´t resist quoting the above “nonsense” poem by Edward Lear – after all, how much poetry mentions the beautiful quince?  Aah…such silly romantic nonsense.

Actually, making quince jelly in our house is one of the few cooking adventures we undertake together, so there is a small element of romance to it!  Chopping up a quince is quite tough – fine if you´re only doing one or two, but every year we usually make a huge batch of Carne or Dulce de Membrillo in one go and it takes 3 or four hours. Much easier if there are two of you working together.  I know that autumn is really here, and in fact today was dull, grey and wet, so it was perfect for steaming up the kitchen with beautiful smells.

Making quince jelly is not difficult.  You just need a little patience, a big pot and a sharp knife.  You´ll be rewarded with beautiful jewel coloured jelly which will last for months if kept in the fridge or a cold place and it can be eaten with cheese and hams or on its own as a delicious sugary treat.

Even if you only have one or two quinces, do give this a go as they are very tart unless lots of sugar is added (but also very nice baked with honey, sugar and raisins as a dessert).

For every kilo of prepared fruit, you will need 750g of sugar.  And that´s it, ingredient list over.

Wash the fruit and get prepared with scales, knives, chopping boards and your pot.

Cut into halves, quarters and even eighths if you have small hands to make it easier.

Core and chop into chunks.  I recommend weighing as you go along.

Put the quince into your biggest pot and add the sugar.

This is where the slightly hard work and patience comes in.  Start on the lowest heat and keep turning the quince and sugar with a wooden spoon.  You don´t want them to catch on the bottom of the pot while the sugar is dissolving as this will give your jelly a burnt taste.

Dissolve the sugar slowly (and if anything does burn, just remove the offending chunk).

Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and bubble gently until the quince has turned mushy and amber coloured. We had two pots of 5 and 3 kg of fruit plus sugar and they took about 30 minutes each from starting to bubble.

Just a bit longer now.

Now remove from the heat and leave to cool for about 10 minutes then blend with a stick blender or mash then pass through a mouli.

Pour into shallow plastic tubs, cover with a cloth until cool and solid then put the lids on.

Store in the fridge until you are ready to enjoy with cheese, nuts, and whatever takes your fancy.  Port, dessert wines and also a good red wine work well I find!


54 Responses to “Dulce de Membrillo – Quince Jelly”

  1. thecompletecookbook November 14, 2011 at 08:22 #

    Oh this sounds fantastic! I am not sure I have eaten quince jelly before. Might have to pop over for a glass of wine to test it out.
    🙂 Mandy

  2. Florence November 14, 2011 at 08:23 #

    Hi T, No point asking if you want any quinces! Like how you get your man to do the peeling. A friend of mine puts chopped pistachio nuts in the bottom of a small pot when making this, so when she turns it out all the nuts are on top. Looks pretty and tastes good together.
    Regards Florence x

    • chicaandaluza November 14, 2011 at 08:43 #

      Ooh I like the pistachio idea, sounds great! Hope you´ve got some takers for your lovely quince, would be such a shame to let them go to waste.

  3. Stitch Nerd November 14, 2011 at 08:31 #

    I must make this! I always buy it when I visit relatives in Mexico and have always wondered how it was made. Thanks for the recipe. 🙂

    • chicaandaluza November 14, 2011 at 08:44 #

      It´s so easy to make (although I think you can make it more complex to get a clearer jelly and a smoother texture). That involves, peeling, straining and then boiling again with the sugar…a long job!

  4. Food,Photography & France November 14, 2011 at 08:35 #

    One of my favourite poems – I love the sound of the crazy words. I would dearly love a runcible spoon. I photographed our neighbour bringing in a wheelbarrow of quinces from his orchard a few weeks ago, but that’s as near as I get to cooking with them. There’s a wonderful Spanish shop in La Rochelle where I buy membrillo, manchego and pata negra. This coast has a strong link with Spain – I believe ETA had an HQ in La Rochelle!

    • chicaandaluza November 14, 2011 at 09:13 #

      It is a very silly but lovely poem…if you ever come across a runcible spoon, do let me know 😉 Maybe you could beg a few quince from your neighbour? I have a pal in the South of France (other side from you though) and they also have lots of Spanish connections. As you say, some good, some less so 😦

  5. chaiselongue1 November 14, 2011 at 10:19 #

    Your recipe is different from mine – http://olivesandartichokes.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/membrillo/ – but the result looks equally delicious! I find that leaving the cores in for the initial cooking increases the amount of pectin so that the membrillo sets better. You’ll be enjoying this all through the winter!

    • chicaandaluza November 14, 2011 at 10:59 #

      Not sure how I missed your recipe first time round – looks fabulous! I think mine is just the lazy version 🙂

  6. Tandy November 14, 2011 at 11:09 #

    the poem reminds me of my grandmother 🙂 thanks!

    • Chica Andaluza November 14, 2011 at 11:57 #

      Actually – me too! I guess they would have been the first ones to read it to us 🙂

  7. gardenfreshtomatoes November 14, 2011 at 13:17 #

    Quince production fell out of favor in the US a century ago, but is being re-discovered now…the small orchard up the road has planted a dozen trees in the last 5 years! May be in the next few, he’ll have enough of a harvest for me to make this…Until then, I’ll have to stick with the imported type to go on my holiday cheese plate!

    • Chica Andaluza November 14, 2011 at 13:44 #

      You can wander round the orchard and just inhale the lovely smell!

  8. Mad Dog November 14, 2011 at 13:44 #

    That sounds delicious and great step by step pix 😉

    • Chica Andaluza November 14, 2011 at 15:47 #

      Thanks Mad Dog – we really love it. I know there are more “sophisticated” ways of making it, but the differences in the results are not so different and when you´re processing so many, it´s quicker this way!

  9. foodgenie November 14, 2011 at 15:53 #

    Nice to see other people using quinces too! When I saw them all on my Mum’s tree (Somerset, UK) I couldn’t let them go to waste.
    …..some membrillo, manchego and red wine….if I eat with my eyes closed……I can make believe I’m in Spain!!

    • Chica Andaluza November 14, 2011 at 16:46 #

      That´s the way to do it! Funny, when I lived in England I never came across a qiunce…mind you, I lived in London!

  10. ChgoJohn November 14, 2011 at 16:15 #

    I’ve never had quince jelly, Tanya, and never thought much about it — until now, thanks to you! I’m telling you now, I will not be making it. No, I will not! I have plenty of jars of jellies, jams, and ketchup lying about and have no need to add quince to the mix. As tasty as you say it is and as wonderful as it is to make, I just cannot, will not, be making quince jelly. Um … how long are they in season?

    • Chica Andaluza November 14, 2011 at 16:41 #

      You might have to as it´s so good and no jars needed – just a little old Tupperware filled to the brim! And just think, Zia might adore it with a little bit of pecorino…the season has just started, you´ve got a few weeks yet!

  11. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide November 14, 2011 at 16:15 #

    That’s not nonsense. It’s the best poem I’ve read all day. Great recipe and photos too.

    • Chica Andaluza November 14, 2011 at 16:41 #

      I think you´re right, we´re told it´s a “nonsense” poem…but that must only be to the people who don´t understand nonsense!

  12. Rachel November 14, 2011 at 16:51 #

    I can buy yummy membrillo at the local Mexican markets, and since quinces run *very* expensive its the better deal. Maybe if I win the lottery I’ll actually buy some quinces and try this… or just make it the meal of the week 😉 Mmmm…
    Love the poetry and the pictures – I’m never leery of Lear myself 😉

    • Chica Andaluza November 14, 2011 at 17:33 #

      Since writing this I´ve realised that Membrillo is a very Mexican thing! I guess we´re lucky to get given the fruit but I´d buy it made too if it was so cheap and readily available 🙂 Glad you liked the Lear!

  13. spicegirlfla November 14, 2011 at 17:42 #

    wow…look at all those gorgous containers of jelly!! Loved the poem and even more that you and Big Man shared this romantic jelly making time!! I’m not familiar with the taste and now my interest has peaked tremendously to try it!

    • Chica Andaluza November 14, 2011 at 17:49 #

      Ah the romance of peeling fruit together! If you can ever get hold if it ready made, it´s usually good too. I hear the Mexican markets in the US stock it 🙂

  14. sportsglutton November 14, 2011 at 20:24 #

    Quince, manchego, and a bottle of wine….that’s my idea of a good time. 😉

    • Chica Andaluza November 15, 2011 at 09:00 #

      Seems like a lot of people agree – wish we could have a quince, cheese and wine party!

  15. Caroline November 14, 2011 at 22:49 #

    I’ve never had quince jelly before, but it sure sounds delicious. Quite the process to make it, but it looks like you’ve got it down. So….wanna share one of those Tupperwares? 😉

    • Chica Andaluza November 15, 2011 at 09:02 #

      Come on round for a tupperware! This is the “cheat´s way” of making it can you believe it…there´s another method which is even more labour intensive 😉

  16. JamieAnne November 15, 2011 at 04:00 #

    The jelly looks really tasty!

  17. TheDorsetFinca November 15, 2011 at 08:35 #

    I’ve never found success with quince… maybe it’s time for another try?! x

    • Chica Andaluza November 15, 2011 at 09:03 #

      I never cooked it in England – although I´m sure they´re the same. Maybe just try them stewed with honey or sugar for a dessert?

  18. TBM November 15, 2011 at 11:50 #

    I’ve never tried this. Looks tasty. Thanks for the poem!

  19. foodblogandthedog November 15, 2011 at 12:16 #

    My dad used to read me The Owl & The Pussycat every night as my bedtime story! Lovely memories thanks!! That is a lot of membrillo, I’m going to have a go at this year, not on that scale though!!

    • Chica Andaluza November 15, 2011 at 18:11 #

      I think it brings back lots of childhood memories!…and we´ll be giving a lot of the membrillo away…lots of requests for it 🙂

  20. Karen November 15, 2011 at 17:16 #

    We only had one quince tree in our orchard and lost it in an ice storm a couple of years ago. When I would have them in a bowl in the kitchen, people always think that they were strange apples. I let friends pick crabapples from two of our trees and they just dropped off three lovely jars of jelly. I so enjoy homemade jelly…the smell is lovely.

    • Chica Andaluza November 15, 2011 at 18:19 #

      Have never made crab apple jelly but I love the taste of it – so sad to lose a tree in an ice storm though 😦

  21. Lauren November 15, 2011 at 21:22 #

    It just so happens that I’m reading this while eating some queso fresco with dulce de membrillo and fresh bread. But I still want to make it myself! Yours looks fantastic. I’ll have to try this soon!

    • Chica Andaluza November 16, 2011 at 13:20 #

      It´s not that tricky – just needs a little patience. Do let me know how it goes if you make it!

  22. PendleStitches November 16, 2011 at 14:38 #

    This is also a new one on me but it does look rather delicious.

    • Chica Andaluza November 16, 2011 at 14:49 #

      Sometimes “posh” cheese shops sell it in the UK – but you´ll only get a tiny piece in return for rather a lot of money!

  23. vanessaharriss November 16, 2011 at 15:24 #

    OMG it’s really that easy? I’ve been agonising for years because I couldn’t be bothered to spent 10 hours stirring and frowning over the cauldron. Still, stewed quince with good vanilla ice cream is sensational. Also chunks of quince roasted alongside a joint of pork is delicious. Those are particularly fine looking quince as well – DorsetFinca, I’m from Wiltshire, and our quinces were always on the small side too. Made them a real pain to peel and core – but worth it!

    • Chica Andaluza November 16, 2011 at 15:48 #

      It really is that easy – and don´t worry about peeling them (unless you have some really nasty bits which you can just cut out)! Stewed quince are gorgeous – such a beautiful delicate perfumed flavour. Thanks for visiting!

  24. thefooddoctor November 21, 2011 at 10:09 #

    believe it or not I have never heard of quice..but it seems like it is so good that it is worth all the effort

    • Chica Andaluza November 21, 2011 at 16:26 #

      I had heard of it when I lived in the UK but never seen it – it´s a funny old fruit but (I think) well worth the effort if you ever do come across it.

  25. Amanda February 15, 2014 at 16:54 #

    Wow this looks gorgeous. I like this method. Next time Im doing it this way. How long did this take you?! Yum.

    • Chica Andaluza February 15, 2014 at 23:45 #

      We make a massive batch – kilos and kilos so it takes a couple of hours but for less the time would be cut down. It’s not so dark and sticky as yours but that seems to be how they make it where we live and it keeps for months and months (if you don’t eat it first)!

  26. Amanda February 15, 2014 at 16:58 #

    Oh I see 30 mins. That seems so much better. I just don’t see how it would bubble with just quince peeves and sugar. I must try this but I don’t know when I’ll find more quinces.

    • Chica Andaluza February 15, 2014 at 23:46 #

      Yes, the actual cooking is quite quick – the extra time for us is peeling all those kilos of quince!


  1. Autumn Quince and Apple Crumble | Chica Andaluza - November 18, 2011

    […] said that, quince are now in season, and we´ve made our annual supply of Quince Jelly or Carne de Membrillo. Our kindly neighbour is still providing us with a couple of quince (or is that quinces?) as the […]

  2. Quince Frangipane Tartlets « Cook Eat Live Vegetarian - December 2, 2011

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  3. Persian Quince Jam with Cardamom and Rosewater For Breakfast « Cook Eat Live Vegetarian - October 27, 2012

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