One of our favorite fall treats is tender little thumbprint cookies filled with jam — a small indulgence, quickly baked, and great with an afternoon cup of tea. We usually fill ours with raspberry jam, but we just discovered a new filling, and a great use for something that's been languishing in the back of the fridge: membrillo, or Spanish quince paste.
Membrillo is a paste made from quince and sugar. The quince is cooked for a long time with the sugar, and its natural abundance of pectin means that it sets, finally, into a very firm, sweet paste. It also turns a brilliant deep orange color. Membrillo is often served on a cheese plate; it's a natural accompaniment to the Spanish Manchego cheese.
I had a little box of membrillo in the back of the refrigerator, left over from a cheese plate a few weeks ago. (Membrillo is like jam; as long as it's refrigerated it doesn't go bad — at least, not quickly.) I noticed it while giving my fridge the Cure once-over and wondered if there was anything I could do with it before buying another hunk of Manchego.
Then I saw these cookies at Eat a Duck I Must: Mrs. Fields' Surprise-Filled Cookies — with membrillo! Of course! Membrillo, with its thick texture, is easy to dab into cookies, and its delicious mix of floral and tangy flavors makes it a wonderful complement to sweet thumbprints.
Delicious, and well worth the literally 10 minutes it took to whip these up.
• Get the recipe: Mrs. Fields' Surprise-Filled Cookies at Eat a Duck I Must
Do you have a favorite use for membrillo or quince jam?
Related: Raspberry-Cornmeal Thumbprint Cookies from Glorious Grits
(Image: Faith Durand)