(From BBC Food and Delicious Magazine)
(Note: I was greedy and ate some of the poached quince. In the end, I ran short and added a thinly sliced Honey Crisp apple. Crisis averted.)
4 cups water
½ cup sugar
¼ cup good quality honey
juice from one lemon
½ of a vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise
3 or 4 cardamom pods (optional)
3 quince, (about 2 lbs.) peeled, cored, quartered then cut into eighths (be careful! Quince are hard to cut and core- use a steady cutting board and a sharp knife)
Place the sliced quince in a bowl of cold water to prevent discoloring while you prepare the sugar/honey syrup. Combine the water, sugar, honey, lemon juice, vanilla bean and cardamom in a heavy bottomed 3 qt. pot. Bring to a boil then add the sliced quince. Reduce the heat to low, cover the quince with a circle of parchment paper (to prevent them from drying out) and simmer on low heat for about 50-60 minutes. Test them with a paring knife; they should be tender. Let them cool completely in the syrup. They can be refrigerated for up to a week in the syrup. The longer they sit, the rosier the color. To prepare the tart, strain the fruit from the syrup (save the syrup for cocktails!) and slice thinly. Place the quince slices on a baking sheet lined with two or three paper towels to remove excess syrup.
Chocolate Cardamom Tart Shell makes one 9” x 1” tart shell
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup Dutch process cocoa
¾ teaspoon cardamom
pinch of salt
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 stick (4 oz. cold butter) cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk, beaten with a fork
1 tablespoon ice cold water
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine the flour, cocoa, cardamom, salt and confectioners’ sugar; pulse a few times to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk, pulsing just to combine, then add the tablespoon of water, pulsing a few times to incorporate. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, dough together, shape into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for half an hour before rolling out on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Roll into a circle about 11” in diameter and ⅛” thick. Fit into a lightly greased tart pan, pressing the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Refrigerate the tart shell for half an hour before partially blind baking.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line the tart shell with a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil that extends over the sides. Tuck the paper (or foil) into the pan and over the sides, making sure it fits snugly. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place on a baking pan and bake for 15 minutes. Wearing oven mitts, carefully remove the baking pan from the oven and remove the parchment paper (or foil) and pie weights (or beans). Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the tart shell and return the tart to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, just until the dough is no longer raw on the bottom. Place the baking sheet with the tart shell on a cooling rack to cool completely while you prepare the filling.
2½ oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 egg, beaten with a fork
⅔ cup finely ground walnuts
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix to combine then stir in the walnuts, flour, salt and vanilla. Mix just until incorporated.
To assemble the tart:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the cooled, partially baked tart shell on a baking sheet. Spread the frangipane over the tart shell and bake the tart (without the fruit at this point) for 12 minutes, just to set the filling. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Let the tart cool for a few minutes, then starting from the outer edge, place the slices of poached quince around the tart, overlapping them slightly, gently pressing them into the filling. Continue until the tart is filled. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 30 minutes, until the tart is slightly puffed, the filling is set and the fruit is tender. Place on a rack to cool before slicing.
TARTE TATIN, INSPIRED BY JULIA
(from The Way To Cook with a pinch of adaptation from delicious.uk and Jill Van Cleave)
Puff Pastry on the Run (adapted from Jill Van Cleave)
(This recipe calls for salted butter, which I think pairs well with the sweet caramel. The recipe yields 1¼ pounds of pastry dough- you will only need half for the tatin; wrap the other half in plastic and freeze for a later date. It’s perfect for turnovers.)
1½ cups bread flour plus additional for rolling out the dough
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, cold, cut into ½” pieces
½ cup cold water
Place the flour and cream of tartar in a medium mixing bowl, whisk to combine. Cut in the cold butter cubes using a bench scraper. The mixture should be crumbly with pieces of butter about the size of corn kernels. Gradually add the cold water, using a fork to incorporate until you have a shaggy dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Flatten into a disc and sprinkle with a tablespoon of flour. Roll the dough out into a rectangle about ½’ thick.
Brush the excess flour from the dough. Fold the short ends in to meet in the middle, then fold in half, lengthwise, forming 4 layers of dough. Once more, roll the dough out into a rectangle, dusting the parchment with additional flour. Fold up the dough again, first with the short ends meeting in the middle, then in half. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Repeat the roll/fold sequence twice more, each time rolling the dough out into a rectangle, folding the short ends in to meet in the middle, then folding in half. Don’t overdo it with the flour- just add the least amount to prevent the dough from sticking. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an additional 20 minutes.
For the Tarte Tatin, you will need half of the dough; roll it out on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper to a circle about 1 inch larger than the pan you are using. I used a 10” All-Clad pan and rolled the dough out to 11” in diameter and about ⅛” thick. Reserve the leftover dough, wrapped in plastic wrap for another use. Refrigerate the circle of dough for the Tarte Tatin while you prepare the filling.
For the Tarte Tatin-
7-8 apples, peeled, cored, quartered (I used a combination of Honeycrisp, Braeburn and Granny Smith. The number of apples depends on the size of your pan and the size of the apples; buy 3 pounds and go from there)
zest and juice of one small lemon
1½ cups sugar
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½”pieces
¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt
an egg wash made from 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
Place the apples in a large bowl, toss with the zest, lemon juice and ½ cup of sugar, (reserving 1 cup of sugar for the caramel). Let the apples steep for 20 minutes; they will give up a good bit of juice. Drain them well and set aside while you prepare the caramel.
In a heavy-duty pan, (I used a 10” all-clad braiser) melt the butter over medium heat then add the remaining 1 cup of sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon for several minutes, until the syrup bubbles and turns caramel brown. (Several minutes is a loose term; keep an eye on things here.) Remove from the heat.
Starting from the outside edge and working in, place the apple quarters in the pan, rounded side down. (The apples hug each other, at a slight angle.) Cook the apples and the caramel on top of the stove for 20-25 minutes. The apples will cook down (lend them a hand by gently pressing down with a wooden spoon and basting them in some of the caramel/apple syrup.) The apples will soften and shrink but you don’t want them to be overly soft. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool. (Note: If the apples are swimming in liquid, you can/should pour off some of the caramel/apple syrup into a small pan, reduce these juices, then add them back.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. If you haven't already, retrieve the pastry dough from the fridge and on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, roll the dough into a circle about 11” in diameter and ⅛” thick. Return the dough (on the parchment) to the fridge, letting it chill for 15 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge. Using the parchment paper to help you, carefully fold the dough in half and place it over the pan of apples. Unfold it and cover the apples completely, tucking the excess under the apples and fluting it around the edges. Brush with the egg wash and place on the bottom shelf of the pre-heated oven. Place a baking sheet beneath it on the very bottom of the oven to catch any drips. Bake at 400 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Wearing serious oven mitts, carefully tilt the pan and pour off any runaway juices; this will help things in the end. STILL WEARING OVEN MITTS, place the tarte on top of the stove over medium heat and give it a swirl, cooking down the juices in the bottom of the pan for just a minute or two, to thicken them. Place the tarte back on the cooling rack, let it sit for 5 minutes, then MOST CAREFULLY, WEARING OVEN MITTS, run an offset spatula around the edge of the pan then invert the tarte onto a serving platter. Juices will run out of the pan and are delicious, but hot. You’ve been warned. Serve warm. Dream of Provence.