Tuesday 23 July 2013

Quince Tarte Tatin

It's July and for not an insignificant number of Australians that means 3 weeks of sleep deprivation, late nights under doonas on the sofa, watching men in lycra cycle up and around France! I'm not a cyclist but I love watching "the tour"; the athletes, the strategy, the scenery and pure spectacle, listening to the two Phils and watching Gabriel Gate and the taste of the tour. 

I'm a bit of a francophile, probably inherited from my dad who has an annual french fix, even my belle-mère was born on Bastille Day. So to celebrate the end of the tour, and use the quinces loitering in the fruit bowl, I made a tarte tatin. I hadn't made one for a loooong time, in my memory it was a really simple process. The recipes I found described decoratively arranging apples and tucking the pastry in around the fruit, very genteel and controlled, NONE mentioned ferocious bubbling and spitting caramel, swearing and burnt fingers. David Lebovitz does suggest wearing long oven mitts to turn the tarte out, but for me that part was the least fraught with danger! 

Quinces are such ugly ducklings, gnarled and lumpy, often covered with fuzz, but turn a lovely pink and are so fragrant once cooked. The tarte has a deep, sticky caramel, the chewy burnt edges my favourite bit; the quinces, delicious, but I have a nagging suspicion I prefer the more traditional apple...

I used 2 really cute little cast iron skillets, one 12 cm, the other 15cm in diameter, but the same quantities will make a single tarte in a regular 20-24cm pan.

 poached quince

3 quince, peeled, cored and cut into 2cm slices
11/2 cups sugar
4 1/2 cups water
1 vanilla bean, split in half

• combine the sugar, water and vanilla bean in a large pan and bring to the boil 
 reduce to a simmer and add the quince slices 
cover with a circle of baking paper and simmer gently for about an hour, they should be tender, fragrant and tinged pink 
 store immersed in the syrup in a sterilised jar (I put mine in the fridge but I'm paranoid)

adapted from David Lebovitz's quince tarte Tatin recipe

 for the dough

140g flour
2 tsp sugar
pinch salt
85g unsalted, cut into small cubes
3 tbsp cold water

• combine the flour, sugar, salt and butter in bowl 
rub the butter into the flour until the butter is in small, pea sized pieces (or use a food processor)
 add the water and mix until the dough holds together 
 knead lightly for a couple of seconds until it comes together 
 divide into 2 pieces, shape into discs, wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for 30mins

adapted from David Lebovitz's quince tarte Tatin recipe

for the caramel

80g sugar
20g butter

• divide the sugar between the 2 cast iron pans 
 swirl over low heat until the sugar has melted and turns a medium caramel colour 
 add half of the butter to each pan and swirl to combine

to assemble

• preheat oven to 190ºC
• once the butter has combined with the caramel in the cast iron pans, add the quince slices, cored side facing up, try to arrange in a nice pattern; granted this is difficult what with the magma-esque sizzling caramel 
 lay the dough over the quince slices and tuck around the quince, again watch out for that caramel 
 make a slit in the centre of the dough and return the pans to the heat 
 heat until the caramel bubbles up through the slit and around the edges, carefully basting the pastry 
 put the pans on a baking tray (or you'll need an industrial scraper to clean your oven floor) and bake for 40 to 45 mins until the dough is golden brown 
 remove from the oven and cool on a rack for a few minutes with the aim of minimising sugar burns 
 place your serving plate over the pan, invert the pan depositing your tarte on the plate 
 serve au naturel or with whipped cream or ice cream

adapted from Shannon Bennett's pear tarte tatin recipeDavid Lebovit's quince tart Tatin recipe and my rusty memory :)

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Ramona said...

This tart looks amazing! My Grandma has a huge quince tree in her garden but I never really used the fruits, I'm definitely gonna change this as soon as they ripen!! This looks too good!!
xox Amy

simmer and boyle said...

Thanks Amy and welcome back! Have you tried macarons yet? :)