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Quince Paste with Espelette

Quince Paste with Espelette

Tradition meets spicy inspiration

I love speciality food importer Kitty Keller. She's fluent in French, has impeccable tastes, and she easily convinces stuck-in-their-ways-traditionalists to try new things. This quince paste is an excellent example of Kitty's ingenuity, creativity, and bullheadedness that convinces conservative confection makers to add a little spice to their life.
 
F. Doucet is a third generation confectionary located in the heart of southeastern France, a spot so removed from the beaten tourist track that you can still detect their Provençal accent. They've been making quince paste (the same stuff they'd call membrillo in Spain) for decades. Quinces are akin to apples and pears and, if you asked me, I'd say it tastes like a slightly citrusy pear. The F. Doucet team cook down the pulp of the quince with sugar in kettles until it thickens. Then they pour it into wooden forms, where it cools and solidifies into a dense, jelly-like paste. It's great served with cheeses like Manchego or cut into cubes and served like a sweet treat.
 
The addition of pimen d'espelette, the classic spice of Basque country in southwestern France, flies in the face of their traditions. But Kitty doesn't worry about that. She's about making new connections, not placating traditions. The folks at F. Doucet love Kitty as much as I do and instead of being insulted by the suggestion, they were inspired. Espelette isn't the spiciest of chiles, but it lends a level of heat to a dish that is warming and subtle and welcome and that even works in confections like this.
 
In addition to treats and salads, this paste pairs very well with salty or aged cheeses, like Zamorano or Idiazabal. Slather a small layer on some good crusty bread with ham and a fresh goat cheese. Get creative.

Quince Paste with Espelette

P-QPS 200 g
$20
Ships for flat rate