Friday, November 24, 2006


Quince Tart (Deux)

  After my last attempt at making a quince tart, I wanted to follow up on my ideas to improve the tart before the quince season is over (of course this depends on your geographic location, but they are typically available in Southern California until the end of December, and we tend not to have them flown in from Turkey or Morocco as happens in Europe).

This time, I sliced the quince quite thin, leaving the seeds in, hoping that a jelly would form and that the flesh would turn a gorgeous dusky rose. On both counts, this didn't eventuate. Perhaps had I added lemon juice to the syrup, enough acid would have been introduced to activate the pectin in the quince, which may have then produced the thick, reddish sweetness of the quince I so badly wanted.

As for the tart base, I used the same recipe as the one for the Dapple Dandy Pluot Tart (my first food entry on this blog) because I wondered about the pairing of the nuttiness of the tart base and the tropical aroma of the quince. Though yummy, the nuttiness is overpowering, pushing the quince to the sideline a little.

Quince Tart
(The quince filling is of my own doing; the tart base recipe is adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties!)

For the quince filling:
4 quince, peeled, sliced through the core and into eighths
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon rose water

For the tart base:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
3/4 dark brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks (169.5 g) cold unsalted butter (diced)

1) Put quince filling ingredients into a pot and let poach until quince are soft (about 25 minutes).
2) When soft, remove quince from pot and let cool.
3) In the meantime, make the tart base: Combine flour, walnuts, and sugar before adding butter. Once butter added, mix until crumbly (it is easier to do by hand than with a mixer).
4) Preheat oven to 400 deg. f. (200 deg. c.).
5) Press 4/5 of the tart base mixture into a 10" tart pan; it is easier if you press into the fluted sides first and work your way to the center.
6) When quince cool enough to handle, cut pips out, then arrange quince slices on the tart base in a concentric pattern.
7) Crumble remaining 1/5 of tart base over the quince.
8) Bake tart in the oven until golden, approximately 45 minutes.

Truthfully, I would not suggest you actually make this tart because it ended up being a lot of work - especially fishing the sliced quince out and then cutting out the pips before arranging the quince slices in a tart pan. And it didn't turn out to be gorgeously pink. And the walnut tart base is too overpowering. And...Keep your fingers crossed for Quince Tart (Trois). Posted by Picasa

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Hi Shaun. I have made Quince Cheese which needs a lot of slow cooking with quite a bit of sugar (the sugar reacts with the pectin in the fruit to give the jelly texture that you require). I firstly simmered the fruit sliced, not peeled but cored, until tender. Then I put it through a mouli-legume to remove any fibres. Then you simmer it with about 50g sugar for about an hour. I imagine that for a pie filling you could cook it a lot less than this as you don't want the membrillo texture in a pie (imagine a pie filled with gummy bears!). I think pinpointing it with almonds is a great idea but perhaps a splash of Muscat would highlight the fragrancy of the quinces? Also, even after all that cooking for the Membrillo, the quince remained the palest of pinks. I think it has something to do with where the quinces are from. Hope this is of interest to you! The pie looks great nonetheless!
Thanks so much for the input. I will seriously conisder this next time, which will be soon. I am sure anyone who reads this blog will soon be sick of me and my quince tarts. Luckily (for them) the quince season is not very long here in the U.S. By the time it is over, though, I will be moving on to rhubarb :-) Instead of muscat, I was thinking of keeping with orange blossom water because it adds any tropical aroma the quince lose as they cook. Or maybe I should go with muscat just to change things up? Let me mill it over...
Hi Shaun, I look forward to reading about your next quince tart! I love them as well. I have two in my fridge that I'm wondering what to do with. Have you considered some ground almonds or perhaps an almond scented 'crumble' type topping? Perhaps making a Bakewell Tart, the frangipan would go really well with quince I think.
Freya - I like your idea of adding almonds. They might actually add a more sophisticated and less robust flavor to the tart instead of walnuts. I have also been thinking about using chestnuts...After all, they grow in season together. Need to brush up on the Bakewell Tart, for I cannot recall the method making one. I think Nigella has one in one of her incredible cookery books...
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