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School of Tapas: Apple paste with Manchego cheese

>> Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dulce de manzana con queso manchego

This apple paste or dulce de manzana is a typical recipe from the northern part of Spain, especially Asturias. This is a humid, lusciously green apple-growing region, best known for its delicious cider, brewed all over the place by large and small apple growers. It is also known for its strong and amazing blue cheeses, like Cabrales. This apple paste is similar to the famous quince paste, dulce de membrillo, a true staple food in many Spanish regions (I'm sure you'd be treated to this dulce in the Spanish villas in the region of Castilla La Mancha...). Similarly apple paste and strong cheeses go together like a horse and a carriage. Here I have paired dulce de manzana with a hearty Manchego cheese. An easy tapa not to be missed.

Here follows the recipe for the apple paste. No, I won't give you the recipe for Manchego cheese, it's a state secret.

Dulce de manzana

  • 1.3 pound (600g) apples (some tangy variety, like Reinette)
  • 1 lemon
  • 0.4 cup apple cider (100g)
  • 1 pound sugar (500g) 

Dulce de manzana

  1. Peel the lemon and get rid of as much pith as you can. cut in half and extract the pips.
  2. Peel and core the apples. cut in large chunks and sprinkle with some of the lemon juice to prevent them from browning. Add the cider and sugar, stir to mix. Process the mixture in a food processor or blender till smooth.
  3. Put the pureed fruit in a heavy saucepan. Turn on the heat to low and simmer 35-40 minutes uncovered, stirring often. 
  4. When the paste is ready, the pureé will acquire a deep redish golden color. To test for doneness, take a teaspoonful of the mixture and drop it on a plate. Wait until it's cold. If the drop is firm enough to the touch and detaches from the plate in one piece when pushed with your finger (a lot more solid than jam consistency), then it's done. If the pureé is too soft, just proceed with the simmering 2-5 minutes longer or as long as needed.
  5. When ready, pour the paste into a shallow container large or small enough to form it into the shape of a thin ingot (the thickness of the portion in the photos is the final thickness) and let it cool completely. I recommend you use a lidded container, as the paste tends to dry quite a bit. Well, unless you intend to eat it all in one go. You can also use a loaf pan lined with plastic so that you can unmold it on a plate. But always keep it covered if you're not going to finish it right away.
  6. Slice the cheese and slice pieces of the apple paste of similar size. Top the cheese with the dulce de manzana and enjoy!
Dulce de manzana con queso manchego

It is essential to use tangy apples in order to offset the sweetness of all the sugar needed for the pureé to gel.

Dulce de manzana con queso manchego

And let me add a last tip: dulce de manzana goes really well with all kinds of meat or liver terrines and foie...

16 comentarios:

Nisrine M. March 15, 2012 at 3:48 PM  

Manchego and apple? Quite an intriguing combination. Your apple paste looks perfect!!.

Belinda @zomppa March 15, 2012 at 4:58 PM  

I LOVE fruit paste with cheese - a perfect combination!

Linda Starr March 15, 2012 at 7:05 PM  

I love Manchego cheese and the apple paste sounds wonderful.

Junglefrog March 15, 2012 at 11:21 PM  

That looks delicious! I had something similar when we were in Spain a few years back and yes we had this with manchego... Absolutely delicious!

Migle March 16, 2012 at 7:09 AM  

This apple paste is very similar to the apple cheese that we are making in Lithuania, but it's usually without the cider and a lot firmer. You know, like a cheese :).
But I really have to try your version! I must be good with or without a cheese as well :)

Sarah March 16, 2012 at 10:43 AM  

I'm always learning new things on your blog. Love this creative tapas, reminds me a bit of the blue cheese/pear combination popular elsewhere.

LinsFood March 16, 2012 at 6:57 PM  

This is truly wonderful! I have had similar things to this on my various trips to Spain. I'm looking forward to trying out your recipe!

Sarah March 19, 2012 at 9:59 PM  

I have never thought about making this. What a great idea.

Frank March 22, 2012 at 1:59 PM  

I love enjoying my cheese with apples or pears, so this makes perfect sense. And it's very pretty, too.

Sara{OneTribeGourmet} March 23, 2012 at 1:27 PM  

Yum, I can only imagine how delicious the sweet & tangy apple paste tastes paired with the creamy salty taste of the Manchego cheese!

Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris March 30, 2012 at 6:57 PM  

I had been looking for this recipe for ages..(I wanted a reliable source, not just the internet) Thanks!!

Anonymous April 3, 2012 at 1:06 AM  

I am intriged with any thing in Spain. My idential twin sister and I went there last June. Sun, Sangria and seisatas.My spelling is wrong I am sure. I this recipe looks wonderful. Thank you. Kim

Erica April 11, 2012 at 7:52 PM  

Wow! This looks so delicious!!! I have to make it soon!

Advanced African Mango April 14, 2012 at 9:46 AM  

It's so refreshing to find articles like the ones you post on your site. Very informative reading.

MrsLavendula April 14, 2012 at 6:44 PM  

This post makes me want to eat tapas tomorrow!

Lisa @ Snappy Gourmet April 29, 2012 at 3:29 AM  

Wow, this sounds incredible and a great combo of flavors! Can't wait to try!


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