Tag Archives: quinces

Frangipane quince tarlets

 
Quinces & quince meat

LOVE quinces!

Partly because they are such an ancient fruit, partly because they are pretty hard to get hold of (they are really only around in November) which makes them a much-anticipated treat.

And then their scent is divine: a mixture of honey, musk and roses. When I am able to buy quinces, the first thing I do is fill a large bowl with them and just enjoy their colour and fragrance for a week or so.

Quinces do need quite a bit of work: their acidic, hard flesh needs to be cooked long and slowly until the pale flesh takes on a pinky hue. 

Luckily, because they are so perfumed you don’t need to do anything complicated with them. Poach them like pears, only longer.  Just add a splash of water and dollop of honey to peeled, cored and quartered quinces, with a pinch of cinnamon if you like.

The flavour of cooked quince is powerful enough to take on rosemary, cinnamon, cloves even star anise, bay and even saffron.

Frangipane quince tartlets

 

For the recipe below you want a dry-ish compote with some of the quinces poached to a pulp and some still retaining their shape so you can chop the flesh up roughly.

The frangipane quince tartlets I made are inspired by a quince Bakewell tart I spotted in Lawson’s delicatessen www.lawsonsdelicatessen.co.uk  in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, a few weeks ago.

I have since also come across a recipe by Sam & Sam Clarke, chef-owners of Moro www.moro.co.uk , for Tarta de Santiago which reads like a Spanish version of the Bakewell tart made with membrillo (quince paste).

These frangipane quince tartlets are a delicious, almondy mouthfuls. Their butteriness balanced by the slightly astringent quince compote.

I find the texture very pleasing too: crunchy almonds, soft frangipane and the soft, slightly grainy texture of the quinces.

And not too much pastry which can feel like a “sandy mouthful”: the balance between filling, topping and pastry shell is just right.

I like this ratio of pastry shell-filling-topping

The recipe below makes about 20-24 tartlets. You will 2 x 12-hole, non-stick jam-tart tins.

Make your own short crust pastry or take a short-cut. You can buy very decent ready-made pastry. Look out for “all-butter”: Dorset Pastry’s organic short crust pastry is good as is Waitrose’s own label short crust pastry sheets (no rolling out necessary).

To make frangipane quince pies for Christmas: simply replace the filling with 1/2 mince meat and 1/2 poached, very finely chopped quinces. Really delicious, much fruitier and with a more interesting texture I think, they beat traditional mince pies hands down!

Ready for the oven

This is what you need:

275g short crust pastry

100g unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

100g ground almonds

25g plain flour

1 large egg

1 tbsp brandy

chopped, poached, cooled flesh of about 3-4 medium quinces (see above)

4 tbsp flaked, toasted almonds

icing sugar to dust

This is what you do:

  1. pre-heat the oven to 180C
  2. roll out the pasty on a very lightly floured surface until quite thin
  3. using a pastry cutter (or glass/cup) cut out thin rounds marginally larger than the holes in the baking tin
  4. press a round very  gently into each hole then put the tins in the fridge for 30 minutes; this helps to “relax” the pastry and stops it from shrinking in the oven
  5. for the frangipane, beat together the butter and sugar until pale, then gradually add the ground almonds, mix in the flour, followed by the egg and finally the brandy
  6. 3/4 fill the pasty cases with poached quince; I find this easiest with two teaspoons where I use one spoon to scoop up the quince and the other to scrape the fruit into the pasty case
  7. spoon a heaped teaspoon of frangipane over the top of each one
  8. sprinkle with the toasted, flaked almonds
  9. bake for 25 minutes until slightly puffed and golden brown
  10. cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on a wire rack
  11. dust with icing sugar before serving if you like

18 little beauties minus 1 ... (quality control!)

Enjoy – really good in the afternoon with a strong cup of Oolong tea or glass of chilled sweet wine! 

Monique x

 
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Quince meat + apple tart

Quince meat + apple tart

As an anti-dote to the leaden skies and drizzle I did a bit of baking with some ingredients I had to hand.

In October, I made a bumper batch of quince meat, a fragrant twist on the traditional mince meat, which ended up filling many a quince pie. I kept a Killner jar back to fill the odd baked apple and bread + butter pudding, but actually got quite tired seeing this quince meat sitting there in the fridge.

I also had some shortcrust pastry in the freezer, a few Egremont russets past their best and a handful of walnuts.

So I made this quince meat & apple tart and jolly nice it was too!

Head of Quality Control at work

You need:

For the pastry:

enough shortcrust pastry to cover a 20cm tart or quiche tin

For the filling:

250g mince meat (or the equivalent in dried fruit such as currents, raisins, sultanas)

6 tbsp of Cognac

60g caster sugar

60g butter

1 1/2 tbsp of honey

2 large eggs, beaten

grated zest of 1 orange and 1/2 a lemon

3 medium apples, peeled and chopped coarsely

50g walnuts

This is what you do:

1. roll out the pasty and line the lightly buttered tin and pre-heat the oven to 200C

2. put into the fridge for 15 mins to chill and stop the pastry from shrinking when baked

3. line with greaseproof baking paper weighed down with ceramic baking beans and bake in pre-heated oven for 15 mins

4. remove from the oven and remove the beans

5. prepare the filling by heating up the mince meat with the cognac until just bubbling; remove from the heat and leave to plump up for 20 mins

6. gently melt the butter, sugar + honey in a saucepan then remove from the heat

7. whisk in the eggs, citrus zest, mince meat and pour into the pastry case

8. bake for 20-25 minutes or until the filling has set and the top is dark and glossy

9. leave to rest and cool, then remove from the tin

10. makes a rich dessert with whipped cream or creme fraiche; also good at coffee time!

Bon appetit!

Monique