While cheeses and jams may find their way onto our menus and into our mouths all year round, the key ingredient to Heirloom Cookshop’s favorite charcuterie accoutrement enjoys a brief season in early autumn. Quince compote, or membrillo, is a jammy fruit product of Iberian origin, best known for punching up cheese plates with its warm-yet-floral flavor and alluring amaranth hue.
Although quince bears a strong resemblance to its tree-fruit friends the apple and the pear, this autumn commodity demands to be handled a bit differently. Presenting as a tough bite even when picked ripe, quince is only willing to show its soft side after a little extra attention in the kitchen. However, when given some sweetness and warmth, the result is a silky delicacy that will make you swoon.
With the holiday season nearly upon us, Heirloom Cookshop is adding quince compote to our charcuterie plates and catering canapes. Using Chef Schu’s recipe below, whip up a batch of your own! Whether embellishing appetizers or slathering on a grilled cheese, this sweet seasonal treat is certain to please.
Juice of ½ lemon
1 pound quince
1 pound apples
⅓ cup sugar
½ cup water
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (use paste)
Fill a large bowl with water and add the juice of ½ lemon. Quarter the quinces and apples, and place the pieces you aren’t working with in the water while you peel, core, and cut each quarter crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces.
Combine the sugar and water in a large, heavy saucepan, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer. Drain the quinces and apples, and add to the pot with the cinnamon and vanilla. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often, for one hour. The quince will be soft and pinkish, and the apples may have broken down into apple sauce (depending on what type you use). Serve hot or cold.