MY DAD ONCE COMBINED HIS WONDERFUL ATTRIBUTES OF LOVING FOOD, BEING A RETIRED ENGINEER, AND INCREDIBLE THRIFT. WHEN I WAS ABOUT TO THROW OUT A POWERFUL OLD COMMERCIAL MIXER HE JUMPED ON IT AND SAID I’LL TAKE THAT!’ NEXT AUTUMN, I DISCOVERED HE HAD TRANSFORMED THE MACHINE INTO AMEMBRILLO MAKER. MEMBRILLO IS THE WORD FOR BOTH FRESH QUINCE AND QUINCE PASTE AND IT IS OFTEN SERVED WITH CHEESE — I THINK IT’S BRILLIANT WITH BLUE CHEESE. WHEN WE WERE GROWING UP, A SLIVER OF SUPER-SWEET MEMBRILLO WAS OUR DESSERT. DAD’S NEW CONTRAPTION SLOWLY MIXES THE SUGAR AND QUINCES, WHILE A SMALL GAS FLAME REDUCES THE MIX. HE SPOONS IT INTO AN OLD GREASED OLIVE OIL TIN, AND EVERY NOW AND THEN HE SLIDES OUT A LITTLE BIT AND CUTS OFF A SLICE. HE IS BRILLIANT.
Slice each quince into eight wedges and place in a large heavy-based saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes, or until tender. Drain the quince, then pass through a food mill. Weigh the quince and place in a heavy-based saucepan.
Measure the equivalent weight of sugar and stir into the quince purée. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 hours, or until the mixture is very stiff. When the mixture thickens enough that a spoon will stand upright in it, you will need to stir continuously to stop the mixture catching.
Lightly grease a
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