Dulce de Membrillo (Quince Paste)
Dulce de Membrillo or quince paste is a fruit preserve made of quince and sugar, typical of Spain. It is made into a rectangular block, then served with toast for breakfast or on a cheese platter with mild, soft cheeses like Brie, as well as hard, salty ones like manchego.
Place quince in large pot, cover with water, and add lemon juice. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds, then add seeds and pod to pot. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer until quince is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Keep quince submerged by adding boiling water and returning to a simmer.
Pick out vanilla pod and discard. Drain quince pieces. Pass quince through food mill or purée in food processor container until smooth.
Measure quince and make note of amount. Transfer to large nonstick pan.
Add sugar to match amount of quince. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently for about 1 hour. Mixture will thicken into a glossy, rosy mass.
Line sheet pan with parchment paper. Spread quince paste about half-inch thick. Set aside to cool completely.
To cut, transfer membrillo-filled paper to cutting board. Dip knife into hot water before cutting into small, bite-size squares. Store membrillo in parchment-lined plastic or glass container. Put parchment between layers.
Will store in refrigerator for months.
To serve, bring to room temperature.