Quince are inedible hard and fury when fresh and look like they just stepped right out of biblical times. When cooked however their flesh becomes soft, pink and very delicious. I adore using them in baking recipes and included three in my second cookbook ‘sweet’ under the fruit chapter. This poached quince tart tartin is one of those recipes. Quince are also in season now so I thought I would should share this super easy recipe.
Poached quinces work beautifully in a tart tartin and this version is not too sweet. I’ve reduced the delicious pink poaching liquid to a syrup and incorporated it into the recipe because I hate to waste such an important flavour component of a dish. The vanilla and star anise elevate the flavour to another level. This dessert is fabulous served with whipped Chantilly cream (cream and vanilla) or vanilla ice cream.
Recipe – serves 8
- 160 g granulated white sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, spilt lengthways
- 4 star anise
- 750 ml water
- 3 large quinces, peeled, cored and cut into thinnish wedges (total cut weight ± 700 g)
- 30 g butter
- 250 g sheet all-butter puff pastry
- whipped cream, for serving
- Bring the sugar, vanilla bean, star anise and water to the boil in a large saucepan. Add the quinces and gently poach for about 10 minutes until the fruit is just cooked but still firm. Strain, reserving the liquid, and leave the fruit to cool. (This can be made in advance.)
- Pour the reserved poaching liquid into a pot and simmer over a low heat until the liquid has reduced by about two-thirds to become syrupy. There should be slightly less than a cup of syrup.
- When you are ready to make the tartin, preheat the oven to 180 °C 350 F
- Melt the butter in a 24-cm round but straight-sided, ovenproof frying pan. Just as it’s starting to bubble, place the split vanilla bean on the bottom and neatly layer the poached quince slices in the pan. There should be enough to create a partial second layer. Pour half the syrup over and allow this to bubble over a medium heat for 5–7 minutes. Keep the remaining syrup for serving.
- Place the sheet of puff pastry over the fruit, gently pulling the sides to cover the circle of the pan, and tuck in the corners slightly. Bake for 30–35 minutes until golden-brown.
- Leave to cool briefly, then invert the tartin carefully onto a large serving plate. Serve with whipped cream and the reserved syrup on the side.
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