It can be difficult to know what to do with quinces, but make this dish once and it will be your go-to forever.
Recipe: Quince and chamomile tarte tatin
Quince and chamomile tarte tatin
4 quinces, cleaned of fluff, peeled and halved (keep the skin)
200g caster sugar
1 tsp toasted fennel seeds
2 star anise
2 tbsp of chamomile tea
1 tsp of salt
rough puff pastry
250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
250g butter, plus 100g
1 tsp salt
In a pot, bring quinces, quince skin, honey, sugar, fennel seeds, star anise, water, chamomile, lemon and salt up to the boil, then drop to a simmer. Topping up with water as needed to keep covered, cook the quinces until they are tender and pink in colour, approximately 2 hours.
Remove the quinces from the liquid, cool them down in the fridge, then continue to reduce the poaching liquid until a syrup forms. Strain and set aside at room temperature.
To make the rough-puff pastry, rub the flour and 250g butter together with your fingers until a texture like lumpy sand is formed. Add the water and salt, and bring together with a fork to form a moist dough. Turn out onto a well-floured bench, press into a one-inch-thick cake. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Place the pastry back on the well-floured bench and roll out into a long sheet about 20cm wide and 1cm thick. Fold the top edge down one third of the way, then the bottom edge up to the top to create three layers.
Rotate the pastry 90 degrees, then roll back out into a long sheet and repeat the folding proceed again. Wrap and chill for another half hour.
Roll the pastry out until it’s about 5mm thick and cut out a circle about 26cm in diameter. Set aside in the fridge while you prepare the pan.
In a 22cm frypan that can go in the oven, add 100g of butter and bring up to a medium heat. Cut the quince halves in half again and remove the core with the knife, then place round-side-down in the pan, making an even pattern like a flower.
Caramelise a little, then place the round or pastry over the top of the pan. Push the edges in to form an upside-down tart and place the pan in a 180-degree oven for 25 minutes, or until the pastry starts to brown.
To serve, carefully flip the tart over onto a plate or board. Liberally drizzle the quince and chamomile syrup over the tart and serve with your favourite accompaniment. Ice-cream and double cream work very well.
This recipe first appeared in the May 2022 issue of SALIFE magazine.
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