Fruit Cheeses are closely related to jams and jellies but have a firmer texture and are usually served moulded and cut into chunks as an accompaniment to roast or cold meats. Quince really makes the best cheese and is a wonderful rich amber colour. It is a particular speciality of Spain and is traditionally eaten as a sweet snack. This recipe will keep for 2 years and makes a wonderful and unusual gift.
• 1.5kg ripe quinces
• 2 litres water or dry cider
• 2-3 strips of lemon rind
• juice of ½ lemon
• preserving or granulated sugar
• groundnut oil, for brushing
• caster sugar, for dusting
1. Wash the quinces well to remove the fluff and chop coarsely. Place in a preserving pan and cover with water or cider, adding the lemon rind and juice. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30-40 minutes until very soft.
2. Either press the mixture through a sieve or pass through a food mill. Measure the puree and allow 400g of sugar for every 500ml of puree.
3. Clean the pan and put in the puree and sugar. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 hours until the mixture becomes very thick. Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
4. Brush a baking or roasting tin with oil and pour the cooled cheese into it, smoothing to a layer about 3-4cm thick. Cool completely, cover with a clean cloth and leave for 24 hours in a warm dry place.
5. Loosen the cheese from the tin with a knife and turn out onto greaseproof paper. Cut into squares or diamonds and dust with caster sugar. Arrange on a baking try and leave to dry, loosely covered with baking parchment.
6. Store in an airtight container with layers of waxed paper between the layers.