by MasterChef UK contestant Sofia Gallo @in_cucinacon_sofia
For two years I have been following the progress of a restoration project. I know it may sound as if it doesn’t fit with a tart, but believe it or not, quinces are the link! When the owner messaged me to say that this year the tree was ready, I couldn’t resist and had to go and pick some of this ancient fruits. At first, I didn’t know what to expect.
I knew from looking at photos and reading about it, that I should encounter something similar to a hybrid between an apple and a pear and that has been in this Country for many years. I must admit, the view didn’t disappoint and the branches cuddled the soil, under the weight of these gorgeously ripen fruits. I picked my own, and enough for a couple of different recipes. Here is the first one.
Prep: 20 min + the poaching of the fruit
Bake: 30 mins
Difficulty Little effort
Makes 1 large tart
For the sweet pastry
- 200 g 00 flour – if not available use a fine flour. It has to be weak to give you a short pastry
- 90 g granulated sugar
- 2 egg yolks – use the white to bake mini meringue
- 125 g cold butter
- 1 pinch of salt
For the poached quinces
- 1 kg of quinces – these should be about ¾ - peeled, core removed and quartered
- 5 lt of water
- 200 g of caster sugar
- Mixed spices: Cinnamon stick, star anise, vanilla bean and cloves to taste
For the frangipane and quince filling
- 250 g unsalted butter – room temperature
- 250 g icing sugar
- 250 g ground almonds
- 50 g plain flour
- 3 large eggs
- Quince puree
- 25ml Drambuie or preferred liqueur - optional
- Poach the quinces. Place the fruit, water and all other ingredients in a saucepan and cook until softened and the fruit has turned to a deep orange colour. You can leave the peel on, but I prefer them without it.
- Whilst the fruit is poaching, prepare your sweet pastry case. In a stand up mixer, cream together the butter and sugar to a pale colour. Add your egg and incorporate this fully, before adding the flour and the salt.
- Combine the ingredients in a soft dough, place between two sweets of parchment paper, and roll to a 3 mm thickness, before placing in the fridge to chill for about 30 min. I find this makes it easier to work the pastry later, but you can also chill the pastry first and then roll it after.
- Once the quinces are ready, remove the fruit from the syrup and place them in a bowl, saving the syrup for later.
- For the quince purée, take 8 quarters of the fruit, blend them to a purée and set them aside.
- Start preparing the tart. Take the pastry out of the fridge and line a tart tin, cover with parchment paper and ceramic beans or rice, and blind bake in a preheated oven at 190°C / Gas Mark 5, until golden. Remove the parchment paper and bake for an additional 10 minutes to ensure the pastry is nicely dried.
- In the meantime, prepare your frangipane filling. Start by creaming the butter and sugar together, whisk the eggs one at the time, add the ground almonds and the liqueur if using, and finally the flour. Fold you ingredients until well combined
- To assemble your tart: spread the quince purée at the bottom of the tart, top with the frangipane filling, with the help of a piping bag or just by spooning the mixture and levelling with a palette knife or spatula and bake at 180°C/Gas Mark 4 until the bake will spring back when touched.
- Serve with whipped mascarpone cream, or vanilla ice cream and the poached quince in syrup.