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Dulce de membrillo is a sweet dessert that consists of a firm, sticky fruit paste. Made from quince, a type of fruit, dulce de membrillo is popular in South America, particularly Argentina. The term membrillo means "quince" in Spanish, and the dessert is also sometimes called quince paste. Although it is often eaten plain, this dessert can be used as a spread as well because of its texture.
The simplest versions of dulce de membrillo contain quinces and sugar. Lemon or lime juice is often added as well, however, and sometimes, passion fruit juice is used instead. Occasionally other flavorings, like vanilla, are included.
To make dulce de membrillo, the quinces are first boiled or baked. The fruit may be boiled whole, or it may be halved or quartered first. Baking is done with the whole fruit, after it is thoroughly washed. Normally, the fruit is cored and the skin peeled once cooked.
After the unwanted parts are removed, the remaining fruit is placed in a food processor to create a pulp. The pulp may be used immediately, but it is normally first sieved. Once sieved the amount of pulp is measured. Since the amount of sugar used is equal to the amount of pulp created, the quantity of pulp determines the quantity of sugar necessary.
The pulp is then placed into a large saucepan. The sugar, and juice if used, are added to the pulp, and the mixture is simmered. Frequent or constant stirring is necessary to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Some versions advise placing the mixture in a tray and baking at a very low temperature after simmering to add extra firmness. Most versions do not suggest this, however.
Alternatively, dulce de membrillo may be made in the microwave. The quince pulp is placed in a microwave-safe container and covered. It is heated for a short time before the sugar is added. Then, the quince-sugar mixture is heated again. The microwave is stopped every several minutes in order to stir the mixture.
Once complete, the dulce de membrillo is put into a loaf pan or similar container and allowed to cool. In order to set, the pan is placed in a refrigerator and left to chill overnight. When set, the dessert can be removed from the pan and sliced. Leftovers can be refrigerated for months, but should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or an airtight container.
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