Monday, 8 June 2020

How to make your own Quince Paste "Membrillo"

Dear Readers, Please allow me to introduce a fellow foodie and good friend, Mr. Paul S. who every Winter provides us with a welcome gift of his Quince Paste, and then little batches sometimes come our way during the year as well, proving that it keeps refrigerated in the tropics very well.  He has been doing this for a few years now, that I know of. The quality is always exceptional and as I have plenty for our use and don't need to make any more, I have asked Paul to be  a guest writer on my blog this week. I have complete faith in this recipe and he enjoys writing about food as well.

(Paul). As an avid follower of Pauline's blog, I am honoured to be invited to be her guest on the Happy Retirees Kitchen blogspot. Towards the end of each autumn I search the markets and greengrocers for one of my favourite fruits, one in short supply in the tropics - the humble quince. I first came upon quince paste on a cheese platter, a "Maggie Beer" product that was perfect with King Island Brie!  Subsequently, in Spain, I found large blocks of the same "membrillo", which they used to sweeten stews and curries. I love it on a cracker with any soft cheese, any blue cheese, any cheese in fact.

Below is a photo of crates of quinces taken by Paul at a market in Fes in Northern Morocco where he and Mrs. S were on holiday last year. Morocco is truly quince land.

This is a very simple recipe, but not an easy one to make. Quinces are initially extremely hard, so peeling and coring the yellow fruit are a chore. As the peeled fruit discolours easily, keep your sliced quinces in water. The fruit has to be softened by boiling - it is rock hard to begin with! Once the sugar is added, the mixture requires regular stirring for around three hours! You keep stirring until the thick mixture is a deep red in colour, and all the water has been evaporated.

Quince paste makes a welcome gift, as Mrs. HRK can attest!



8 quinces (peeled, cored, and chopped)

Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup of water
5 cups of sugar


Place the chopped quinces, water and lemon juice in a large heavy based saucepan/pot. Place on high heat to steam the fruit. When the quinces are soft, use a stick blender to blitz to a slurry. Add the sugar and start stirring, continuing regularly to ensure the sweet mixture does not stick to the bottom.

After the quinces have turned to the bright red colour, pour the mixture into a cake tin or similar, cool, and then refrigerate into a firm block which, kept in the fridge, will provide for 12 months of cheese platters.

Photo 1: The quinces have softened, the blender has liquefied the fruit, and the sugar has been added.

Photo 2: After an hour of stirring, the mixture has started to gain colour around the edges and base.

Photo 3: The beautiful red colour has finally arrived, after all that interminable stirring

Photo 4: In a cake tin or mould, your quince paste is ready to cool and refrigerate

If you have read to the end of Paul's quince cooking journey, and I thank him for doing this, I have to tell you it's been an interesting few days.

 This post for me will always be tinged with a little shock and drama. As I was almost finished loading this story and ready to post at 5 pm on Saturday, Mr. HRK appeared at the door holding his hand upright, rather pale, and said "I've hurt myself and it's serious." I had heard him using the table saw in his shed but that happens frequently as he is a DIY kind of guy. You never know how you are going to react in this situation do you? However I managed to dial 000, the ambulance paramedics came, he was taken to hospital emergency,  and by the time I was allowed to see him, two fingers on his left hand, index and third finger had been cleaned and bandaged up, and he had charmed all the nurses.

 He had surgery on his hand Sunday morning,  and recovered well. He has managed to damage the bone on his index finger and that finger has now been amputated to just above the knuckle and the finger next to it is damaged but just has to heal. After all these years of his constructing so many projects in his shed using a variety of equipment, this shows it can happen to anyone. He is home now, and life will be pretty quiet for him now for a while as his hand heals. It could have been a lot worse. The paramedics and the staff of the Mackay Base Hospital have been absolutely wonderful and we are so thankful for that. It's life in the slow lane now for us for a while.

Thanks for dropping by,



  1. Thanks, Pauline and Paul, for sharing this delicious quality quince paste. Do you eat them like you do with applesauce?
    I am glad to know that Mr. HRK is okay now. Have a speedy recovery!

    1. Thanks Angie, Quince paste is best eaten as a small slice on top of a piece of cheese on a savoury biscuit. It isn't like a sauce at all. Imagine a cheese platter with all of the condiments, and a beautiful red square of quince paste on a small plate with a knife for slicing off a piece. If I had had more time without dramas I would have prepared a cheese platter to demonstrate. Hopefully in the future I will do that.

  2. Accidents like that are very frightening. I am glad he is home and I hope you have also recovered.

  3. Thanks Bernie, You are very kind. I am over the shock of it now, and he is managing remarkably well. Keep well yourself, Pauline

  4. Oh, so sorry about Mr. HRK! I used to have a table saw, and got rid of it -- it just scared me. Hope he recovers fully. Anyway, neat recipe -- thanks.

    1. Thanks KR. My hubby worked as manual arts teacher in schools all his life with this kind of equipment and never had an accident. Hard to figure eh?

  5. hi pauline
    what a scary time it must have been for you both. reminds me of a friend (called Paul) who is retired but makes lots of beautiful wood items. he was home alone one day, and his saw skidded on a knot in the wood and chopped off a couple of his fingers! he stayed conscious, rang OOO, got himself to hospital ... and he still makes lovely things. Not sure about quince paste tho. not really my fave, and it's soooo much work:-)

  6. Thanks Sherry, apparently a lot of woodworkers are missing bits of fingers, still can't believe it. Quince paste is very sweet, but delicious in small amounts with cheeses. Have a great weekend

  7. That is so new to me, I should finally try quince myself! I bet it is really delicious ☺ Stay safe and healthy everyone ☺

    1. Thanks Natalia, it is delicious, but in moderation:)Hope you are well.

  8. Looks like a wonderful recipe. Personally, I have never used ore eaten quince, but my husband's mother was quite fond of making jellies and other recipes using quince .

    1. Thanks so much Judee, lovely to hear from you. I will venture into doing other things with them one day.

  9. Oh my Pauline - that is awful about your husband. I hope he heals well and completely without any complications. Big hugs!

    1. Thanks so much Tandy, as long as he behaves himself and stays away from his shed he should be fine:)

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