I've been aware of the existence of quinces since an excellent meal at The Quince & Medlar in 2008. Ever since I've been wondering what they taste like (there were no quinces in the meal). It's not a fruit that I've ever seen in shops before; apparently you either grow them yourself or find someone who does.
I read a few months ago that quince jelly/jam goes very well with apples, so decided to incorporate it into a tart. Having previously only seen the jelly sold at an astronomical price in a deli I tracked some down at the reasonablish price of £2.09 in Waitrose (stocked with chutneys as opposed to jams). Quinces are (so I'm told) pear like fruit with sour flesh that once cooked becomes reddish and sweet. The jelly is reddish, sweet, slightly grainy and tastes somewhere between apple and strawberry. It's certainly not unpleasant.
As you can see from the picture, this is a shortcrust pastry tart with a layer of fruit purée, topped with apple slices, then glazed and baked. Normally you'd use just apples in the purée and glaze with apricot jam (which you can do if you can't find quince jelly), but I added 75g jelly to the purée and glazed the top with 50g. As I've not had quinces before I can't tell whether the tart tastes quincy or not, but the red colour comes through and I'm pretty pleased with it.
Ideally you'd use dessert pastry instead of standard, however I've not seen ready made vegan dessert pastry in shops (almost all standard shortcrust that is sold is). If I were less lazy I'd make my own, but it doesn't make an awful lot of difference. As an alternative you can roll out a disc of puff pastry and top it instead, making a more tart tartin style thing.
Next time I need to use a dish with slightly shorter sides, so there's less exposed pastry. Using a loose bottomed tin allows you to transfer it to a serving dish, however as the pastry shrinks away from the sides during cooking it's easy to get the first slice out of the dish you cook it in.
Ingredients (8 servings):
- 1 Sheet Shortcrust Pastry
- 2 Bramley Apples
- 5 Cox's Apples
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 75+50g Quince Jelly
- 25ml Water
- 150g Soya Whipping Cream
- 3 Cardamom Pods
Start by peeling and dicing the bramley apples. If you don't have bramleys in your country then use whatever is sold as a cooking apple (generally larger, green and not overly sweet). You want to dice them into fairly small chunks, as this will make the cooking time shorter.
Heat a knob of margarine in a pan and add the diced apples. Cook over a low-medium heat for 10-20 minutes (dependant on the size of the dice), stirring occasionally until you can easily squish them under the back of a spoon.
Add the cinnamon and sugar to taste, stirring until you get a purée. Add the 75g quince jelly and stir until combined. Set aside and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 200oc (180oc fan) and roll out the pastry on a floured surface, so it's a little larger than your dish. Wrap the pastry around a rolling pin and unroll over a greased dish, such that it comfortably sits within it and doesn't need to be stretched. Press the pastry against the sides with your fingers and cut off excess with a sharp knife.
Described as pointless by Delia; I quite like my ceramic baking beans. Prick the base, cover with baking paper and weigh down with whatever it is you use instead (rice supposedly works, but I've always thought this is somewhat of a waste). Cook in the oven for 10 minutes then remove and take the paper away.
Place 50g quince jelly in a small pan with 25ml water and leave to warm through over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Don't let it boil - it just needs to combine into a syrup.
Peal and chop the apples into slices. Having a bowl of cold water to put the slices in as you cut them will shop them from oxidising and turning brown.
Spread the purée out over the pastry and top with the apple slices in a pattern of your choice.
Pour over the quince syrup, using a pastry brush to ensure that all surfaces are covered. If you've not got a silicone brush yet then now's the time - they're easier to clean and unlike non-synthetic brushes they aren't made from big bristle.
Cook the tart in your oven for around 35 minutes, checking it every so often to make sure it's not burning.
Crack the cardamom pods and grind the contents to a fine powder (discard the shell). Whisk in with the cream and chill until required.
When the tart comes out of the oven allow it to cool slightly before serving. As well ensuring that you don't burn your mouth this allows the purée to firm up slightly, making cutting easier.
Use a large sharp knife to cut and extract slices. As the pastry shrinks away from the dish during cutting you should have no problems getting it out. It can be served warm or cold.