Friday, October 27, 2006


Quince Tart

My angelheart Eric had never had quince before I made this tart. I really wanted to give him an introduction to a fruit I really love, and I wanted to use a recipe from my collection of teachers (i.e. a plethora of cookery books). Tamasin Day-Lewis' recipe for Quince Tart from Simply The Best: The Art of Seasonal Cooking, a mouth-watering collection of seasonal recipes punctuated with articles from the weekend edition of Daily Telegraph seemed to fit the bill...

Except I didn't know what a shortcrust pastry was. Tamasin Day-Lewis' instructions were simply to make one with 4oz (113g) organic flour and 2oz (57g) unsalted butter. And then what? Well, I really didn't know. I got the impression that one just combined these two ingredients together until they created a crumble, and then they were to be pressed into the tart pan, but I was not sure. I did a quick search online and found a simple recipe in which water and salt were included, as well as twice the amount of flour and butter. I decided to follow that recipe, but a couple of days later, while reading Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's The River Cottage Year, I realised that my initial thoughts were right - he refers to a shortcrust recipe suggested by Elizabeth David - except that I had not considered a drop or two of water to bring the mixture together. Tamasin Day-Lewis seems to admire Elizabeth David, so she probably did mean for me to think about this method. Now I know. But today I give you the recipe I ended up following, which was fine, except I should have added some sugar because the pastry ended up being too savoury for this dessert.

As for the quince themselves, a kind of mousse is made, which I think masks the gorgeous tropical scent of the fruit. It was a nice and fluffy tasting tart, but it did not bring out of the quince their quince-ness.

Quince Tart
(Adapted from Tamasin Day-Lewis' Simply The Best: The Art of Seasonal Cooking)

For the shortcrust pastry:
9oz (255g) flour
4oz (113g) butter
1 egg, chilled
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon water, chilled

1) Process flour, butter, and salt in a food processor until the mixture looks crumbly.
2) Whisk the egg and water in a bowl until combined, then add to the flour mixture while food processor is running. Process until dough forms large clumps.
3) Turn dough out on to work surface and knead gently to bring together.
4) Form into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate overnight or for at least two hours.

For the filling:
5 quince, peeled, cored, and cubed
2 tablespoons water
2 tablspoons vanilla superfine sugar (vanilla caster sugar)
2 egg yolks
3 egg whites
2oz (50g) butter

1) Preheat oven to 375 deg. f. (190 deg. c.).
2) Line a 10" (25cm) tart with the shortcrust pastry.
3) Stew quince gently in a covered pan in the water and sugar until tender.
4) Liquidise quince in a food processor, test for sweetness before adding egg yolks, butter, and cream, then give it a quick whirl in the processor. Scrape mixture into a bowl.
5) Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks in a separate bowl, then fold them into the quince mixture lightly and quickly.
6) Pour the quince mixture over the pastry base.
7) Cook for approximately 35 minutes, until well risen and "airily set". Serve warm.

Next time I make this, and there probably will be another time as quince are still in season, I will poach the quince with their cores in because this is what creates that gorgeous pink hue quince are known for as well as a "jelly"). I will then scoop them out, slice them, and then arrange them in the tart pan to bake. This way, I think I will get that quince-ness I'm after. Posted by Picasa

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I've never had quince either, but only for the fact that you don't see them here in our grocery stores (NE Ohio) but I've heard many a good thing about them.

Your tart looks lovely - and I like the ideas you have for when you make it next.

I hope you are feeling better!
Hi Shaun

Every once in a while my bigscarymegamart will have quince, but I never know what to do with time I see them, I'll pick some up.

Re: tartshell--I'd think that two parts flour and one part fat would work (it does in your imperial measure, but your metric is off--60g of butter??) as it would be closer to a shorbread...I don't know...just a guess...

Lis - I am indeed feeling much better - luckily I have a pretty good immune system, so I'm never down for long. I have made another Quince Tart, so keep posted because I followed up on my ideas.

Jasmine - Thanks for the pastry info. I really should have done a better researching job before making it - serves me right. Have you come across any quince yet?
I love quince, but unfortunately it's impossible to find it here in States. I've never had anything cooked with quince other than quince jam which is marvelous. I'm going back home soon and it's quince season. I'll definitely try your pie :)
Burcu - I don't know where in the US you are, but I have been able to find great quice at the local farmers' market. Do a web search for a certified famers' market in your county to see if there is one near you. Good luck!
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