I was reading Myles one of his A, B, C books the other day when I got to “Q is for Quince.” I paused dramatically (Myles didn’t seem to notice). “Now there’s a fruit that I’ve never put into a cupcake!” I reflected; and the wheels (on the bus) in my head started going ’round and ’round.
|Photo of quince from Flickr by Amy Sept|
Quince is in season in the Fall, but quince paste is available year round. Even if quince were in season, I would not likely use the raw fruit in a cupcake (although I might have poached it). While quince resembles a pear, quince is too hard and sour to eat raw and is more often than not served as a jam, paste, or jelly. I learned from Wikipedia that the term “marmalade” originally meant quince jam and is derived from “marmelo,” the Portuguese word for Quince.
In Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela, quince paste (dulce de membrillo) is traditionally served with manchego cheese (sheep’s milk cheese from Spain). I’m often one to question tradition (with the exception of a maid of honor, my wedding party was all men), but this is not a tradition to be trampled on. The sugary paste (imagine a thick apple butter crossed with a touch of pear) is the soul mate to the salty/buttery cheese. Although the duo doesn’t need a chaperone, a homemade Ritz cracker makes the perfect delivery mechanism for popping the paste and cheese into your mouth – again, and again, and again.
Try Quince and Manchego Now, But Be Sure to Buy Extra
If you think that quince and manchego on a cracker sounds dreamy, wait until you try it in cupcake form.