Do you remember how I went on and on last week about membrillo and how deliciously perfect it is with bits of salty cheese?
Great. Now forget it. Seriously.
Because as wonderful as quince paste is with cheese, it is even better covered in a thin shell of rich dark bitter chocolate.
I mean it! I can hardly believe how good these are.
If you haven't tried it yet, perhaps it would help to imagine Membrillo as a bit of a naughty grown-up berry jam. It's less sticky sweet with deeper, almost wine-like undertones. I like to think that it's what raspberry would taste like if it took up smoking and stayed up late past curfew. It's Jenny with the razored shag and raccoon eyeliner. And, as a girl who loves cordials and chocolate raspberry jellies (and also, apparently, Gossip Girl), I am absolutely drawn to the perfect combination of berry and chocolate.
I find the pair utterly irrisistable; so much so that back when I still lived in Jersey and used to have to make the long, miserable commute back and forth through the Lincoln Tunnel by bus, I would stop at the Port Authority candy shop each evening to buy a few small pieces of chocolate raspberry jellies to help make the trip (somewhat) bearable.
This chocolate-covered membrillo is so easy to make, and would even make for a fantastic holiday gift if you (like so many of us) are hunting around for ideas on things to make this meager gift-giving season. A few of these in a little tin or wrapped in cellophane and ribbon would make for an elegant and totally unique gift. I won't even judge you if you choose to buy your membrillo instead of making your own. (Although your really *should* try to make your own.)
Oh and if you're into the salty-sweet kind of thing. I topped a few with a bit of salt before the chocolate set. Try it both ways and let me know which you like best.
Chocolate-Covered Membrillo (Quince Paste)
1 8x8x8 square of membrillo (homemade or store bought)
16 oz (1 bag) bittersweet chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli 60%)
Fleur de sel or course salt for decoration (optional)
Cut membrillo into 1" squares.
Melt the chocolate in a small bowl by microwaving 30 seconds at a time until completely melted. Stir the melted chocolate with a metal spoon until it is smooth and the bowl no longer feels hot. Test the chocolate by bringing a bit up to your lower inside lip. If it doesn't burn, but still feels warmer than your lip, it is perfect.
Slowly drop the quince into the chocolate and let coat completely then use a spoon to bring out and deposit on wax paper for a minute. Let the chocolate settle, then use a spatula to transfer to a cooling rack to remove the excess chocolate.
If you are using salt, sprinkle a few grains over the chocolate before cooling.
Let cool completely at room temperature (near an open window or fan works well) until completely hardened. Store candy in an airtight container in a cool dry place.