Quince Paste

Again, rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. I am writing again; so thank you for reading.

Public civility appears to be dwindling. Oozing along with it into oblivion we have polar ice and the availability of desserts that don’t feature cinnamon (have we talked about this?). But while most things are quietly going to hell, something has improved: yogurt. In my lifetime, only hotel bedding has made a similar leap from lousy to lovely.

When I was growing up, my parents had a yogurt maker. We ate its puckering-tart offerings with my mom’s raspberry jam. Early on I developed a taste for tart and bitter foods, one I have passed down to my daughters. Anyone could have told you I had the makings of a beer drinker. We were taught to shun store-bought yogurt; at the time there were very few brands, each one worse than the last. But that was then.

Before I rejoice, I will say that most yogurts still suffer from an excess of sugar. And there are far too many fat-free (those words!) varieties decking the dairy case, pretending it’s 1994. But let us not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good, because currently there exists a splendid array of fat-loaded yogurt.

I had about had it with Iceland when Siggi’s showed up a few years back with 0% fat Skyr (no I can’t pronounce it). But then, (due in part to my threatening letters?) they developed their 4-percenter. Thank you Siggi’s, because 4 is the creamy, magic number. I also favor YQ by Yoplait, particularly the vanilla and coconut.

Truly it’s a good time to be alive. These are yogurts that will make you feel full (of fat).

So obviously I’m not a dietitian. Animal products are probably not good for you in large quantities. However, I choose not to dwell on this sad possibility, due to my relentlessly, irrepressibly sunny nature (also due to my equally relentless craving for creamy dairy products). I tell myself that something with that superior of a mouth-feel can’t be all bad. And that’s only the tip of the (melting) iceberg of nonsense I tell myself.

Twelve years ago, when my family moved to Olympia, I bought a little ice cream maker. I was fond of making raspberry rose sorbet, lemon verbena ice cream and other artisanal sounding delights. I haven’t made frozen treats in awhile (save our annual Yuletide pomegranate gelato) because these things come in phases for me.

But last month, my husband’s coworker gave me a huge bag of quinces. They resemble enormous pears, and are rock hard and so bitter as to be inedible in their raw state (I confirmed this). But cooked up with sugar and a little lemon juice they result in an enchanting little Spanish confection. I have long been an appreciator of quince paste, or membrillo, which pairs so well with certain hard cheeses that they really should grow on the same tree for ease of snacking. Quince paste is like jam, but firm enough to be cut into cubes.

I spent an afternoon peeling, coring, chopping, boiling, stirring and testing, while my house filled with a beguiling floral scent. In the end, I had delectable quince paste of a distinctive deep apricot color that… didn’t fully set. I found out that the giver of the fruits (formerly my favorite of my husband’s coworkers) supplements the pectin when he makes his.

With about three square meters of unset QP on my hands, I was grateful to hear the voice of God telling me to make a frozen dessert. I hear that voice a lot, and in case you are wondering, God sounds a lot like Nigella Lawson.

So here’s a way to integrate more saturated fat into your diet, get the health (yes, I insist) benefits of full-fat yogurt, and use that quince paste that you also probably have kicking around your fridge. Who doesn’t?

Quince Yogurt Ice Cream

9 ounces quince paste (store-bought is fine or come get some of mine)
1 3/4 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups plain whole milk yogurt

Use a mixer to beat quince paste, cream and yogurt until smooth. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instruction.


3 thoughts on “Quince Paste

  1. That was pretty funny. More nonsense, please. You previously mentioned that “I was wary of the common, white collar crime of cinnamon abuse.” Do continue.

    1. Rick, Americans are cinnamon abusers. Having been repeatedly burned, I always ask at restaurants if a dessert has cinnamon in it. I have to, even if it’s lemon sorbet. How much time do you have to listen to my petty problems of privilege? All day? Excellent.

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