It’s membrillo cake time again.  I am baking it for the second time.  It brought back floods of memories from the time when I was little and naive about food.  I would eat most of the things that were on offer.  It wasn’t difficult to be tempted by the fruit trees grandma had in her garden.  The plum tree branches pregnant with goose egg sized purple plums.  The big apricot tree, with the noise of wasps at the time of the fruit ripening.  It was like having a race with those pesci insects:  who can spot the best looking, sweetest fruit first!  It’s a risky race to have when you are little, but the reward is so, so tasty.  Picking a fruit from the tree and devouring it on the spot - nature’s Michelin Starred restaurant offering.  Warmed and ripened by the Summer Sun to perfection!
The quince tree was sharing the enclosed space with grandma’s chicken and the noisy, scary cockrel.  I couldn’t get to it easily because of the feathered guards and  couldn’t eat the fruit when it was ready for harvest: it was hard and sour.  As I now know, it was a cooking apple.  Grandma was good at magic in the kitchen.  I don’t remember seeing her making quince cheese, probably couldn’t care less at the time about what happened to those uninteresting fruit.  Till I discovered a dark amber coloured slab, smelling sweetly in a baking tray, resting (maturing) on one of the shelves in grandma's walk-in pantry.  It was quince cheese, I was told.  Cheese?  But it cannot be, it’s the wrong colour and it smells sweet not savoury!  Regardless of the confusing name I love it to this day.
Membrillo cake recipe from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson, available on Amazon here.