Inspired and Adapted from Donna Hay.
You have likely heard from me before that, when I was growing up, Ama (my mother) always made sure we enjoyed a good homemade natilla, arroz con leche, or flan (crème caramel), as well as different varieties of tarts and pies to cap off a homemade meal.
There is another much-loved and traditional way to end a family meal in northern Spain (and pretty much everywhere else on the Iberian peninsula), which consists of a good piece of hard local cheese (most traditionally, an aged Manchego), or for us at home Idiazábal, accompanied with the sweetness of ‘membrillo’ or quince paste, and some walnuts.
Membrillo is a dense, pure, grainy jelly made from the fruit of the quince tree. The savory and sweet contrast between an aged slice of cheese and membrillo works so well.
Membrillo is so dense that it holds it shape. It comes in perfect rectangle-shaped blocks. Today, Membrillo is sold in many online markets across the US and in some specialty and gourmet stores offline too. It is, of course, an everyday item in groceries stores and supermarkets nationwide in Spain. It can be purchased by the pound, in jars or canned.
Aged cheese and Membrillo, go so well together that I when I visit home I won’t miss this combination of savory and sweetness. My father (Aita) considers Cheese and Membrillo his favorite dessert. No surprise.
In this recipe, however, Donna Hay, surprises me with a fun and quite simple way to accompany a piece of cheese and crisp cracker. Apple jellies.
Although the original recipe calls for green apples (Granny Smith), I used for this recipe another apple variety – Gala. Thinly-sliced with a Mandoline. These apple jellies, in addition to being visually appetizing with their beautiful and translucent appearance, provide a perfect contrast of sweetness for any hard aged cheese.
We won’t forget our little ones when preparing a cheese platter or dessert. Just cut the cheese into slices, cubes or triangles for them, and add some colorful accompaniments for them to graze on, and this little apple jelly rounds it all out.
- 1 tablespoon powdered gelatine
- 1 tablespoon apple juice
- 1 cup apple juice, extra
- 2 tablespoons fine sugar
- 2 Gala apples, thinly sliced (I used a Mandolin)
- A hard cured cheese such as Manchego, Ideazábal, aged cheddar and crispbread, to serve
- Place the gelatine and apple juice in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the gelatine is absorbed. Place the extra apple juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the gelatine mixture and stir until dissolved. Layer the apple slices in 4 lightly greased ½ cup-capacity dishes. Pour over the jelly mixture and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set. Turn out and serve with cheese and crispbreads.