Spiced Membrillo

Found a basket full of quinces on my mum’s tree and not being one to waste anything I brought them home to make ‘membrillo’. This is traditionally eaten in Spain with manchego cheese.
The fruits are too hard to peel and can’t be eaten raw so this is an ideal way to use them. If you pot up a jar of the paste before it’s completely set you can use a spoonful or two in any apple pudding to add an extra perfume.

1 kg quinces, washed and chopped small
125 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp crushed black pepper
650g sugar

Place the chopped quinces in a heavy bottomed pan with the lemon juice and 120ml water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes until fruit is soft. Rub the fruit through a metal sieve over a heatproof bowl, then discard the debris. Weigh the puree (it should be about 650g) and add the same amount of sugar. Return to a clean pan and stir over a high heat until the sugar has dissolved, then reduce to a medium simmer. Cook uncovered for about 30 minutes until dense and sticky and reduced by about a third. Add the crushed pepper. Line a 21cm square tin with greaseproof paper or baking parchment and pour in the paste. Leave to cool for 3-4 hours then cut into 5cm wide slabs.
Store in an airtight box, between layers of waxed paper, for up to 2 months.
You can also keep membrillo in the freezer!