Quinces always struck me as a bit strange looking – almost like a peach on steroids. It took me a while to get into quince, because I never could fathom the point of having to cook a fruit first before being able to enjoy it.
A few seasons ago I finally decided to try some, and the aroma of the fruit cooking made me an instant convert. And with beginners luck, that first fruit turned a beautiful shade of pink when cooked.
Usually, I just stew the quince and serve it with ice-cream or cream. But I wanted to make something a little bit more memorable for Mr Kitchen Hand and the mini-critics, as I wouldn’t be seeing them for a few days. Hopefully they’ll behave (and miss me!).
(This will be my last post for a few days, will spill the beans when I get back next week).I cooked the quince with some sugar and star anise (a vanilla bean or cinnamon quill would also work well), then made them into little tarts with a frangipane filling. Once baked, the quince dried out a little, so a quick kaffir lime glaze added some shine.
(I used a basic biscuit paste from Quick and Easy Small Cakes by Kazuko Kawachi.)
50g unsalted butter (softened)
50g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1/3 tsp salt
30g extra flour for rolling out.
First cream the butter in bowl with a spatula - I used a wide rubber spatula. Mix in the sugar then beat until light and creamy. Add egg yolks one at a time and mix well. Then add vanilla extract and mix well. Sift in flour and salt, mix with spatula (do not stir) - it's more of a scarping and folding motion. Scrape the paste onto some plastic wrap and shape into a disc. Chill for at least half an hour.
Lightly flour work surface and rolling pin. Roll out pie paste and cut with shaped cutters or lift into a tart tin. Bake blind before filling with stewed quince and frangipane.
(My friend NL gave me this recipe, which she obtained from a friend of hers – who probably received it from her friend. No matter the origin, it’s a really good frangipane recipe. I halved the quantities and changed the sugar for making my mini tartlets.)
120g caster sugar (I substituted brown sugar instead)
120g almond meal
Cream the butter and sugar until light. Add eggs, mix well. Fold in almond meal and flour. Spoon into tart cases, top with stewed fruit and bake at 180˚C until done.
Kaffir lime glaze
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup water
3 kaffir lime leaves
Stir sugar and water together, then simmer gently together with the leaves until syrupy. Glaze cooled tarts.
Enjoy! And see you in a few days :)