Quince are definitely an unusual and underrated fruit. Until I moved to Spain I had never even seen one let alone tasted one. The Spanish love the quince and make an exceedingly sweet paste/jelly called Dulce de Membrillo that is delicious served with Manchego cheese. It’s a classic tapa. If you would like to make some, Chica Andaluza has the recipe.
They look like a big yellow, gnarly apple and have a kind of peach fluff on the skin when they are on the tree. The flavour and texture are similar to an apple but it has a delicate floral perfume. They are in season here at the moment so I wanted to make something gorgeous with them to showcase their delicious flavour.
It’s been a while since I posted anything sweet so this was the perfect opportunity. You can make little tartlets or one big one. I used half spelt flour to make my pastry and it worked really well. The pastry is really sweet & crumbly and the spelt flour gives it a nuttiness which I really like. I also use it to make my Seed & Fruit Breakfast Loaf.
This information is from Livestrong.com
Spelt, an ancient cereal grain, is a distant cousin to wheat. It has a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. Use spelt flour as a substitute for wheat or white flour when baking bread. Because spelt flour contains gluten, you are less likely to compromise the texture of baked goods. Compared to wheat flour, spelt flour is richer in many nutrients, such as protein and minerals.
Spelt flour has a high water solubility, making it easier to digest for those with a wheat intolerance. Spelt and whole spelt flour offer more soluble fibre than both standard and durum wheat flours. Soluble fibre is particularly beneficial for lowering blood cholesterol and regulating blood sugar levels.
- 550 ml (2 1/2 cups) water
- 225 gr sugar
- 1/2 lemon, cut into wedges
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large quince, peeled cored and cut into 16 wedges
Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon wedges, squeezing a bit of juice into the pan too, vanilla and quince slices, stirring to combine.
Bring to a simmer and cook gently until the quince are soft and fork tender but not mushy. About 10-20 minutes depending how ripe your quince is.
Set aside and leave to cool in the syrup until you are ready to use them.
For the sweet pastry:
for 3 x 4 inch tartlets
- 165 gr (3/4 cup) flour (I used half plain half spelt flour)
- 4 tbsp icing/confectioners sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 65 gr (4 1/2 tbsp), cold, cubed butter
- 1 small egg yolk, save the white for later
Combine the flour, sugar & salt in the bowl of a processor and pulse. Add the cold butter and pulse again until the butter is the size of small peas. Then add the yolk and pulse until the mixture starts to clump a bit.
Lightly butter and flour your tart tins and gently press the dough into them, as evenly as possible over the bottom and up the sides. Freeze the tart shells for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Prick the bases of the tarts with a fork and bake until they are lightly golden. Up to 10 minutes (more for a large tart). Leave to cool on a rack while you make the frangipane.
For the Frangipane:
- 45 gr (3 tbsp) soft butter
- 75 gr (1/3 cup) sugar
- 40 gr ( 1/3 cup) ground almonds
- 1 egg white (saved from above)
- 1 tsp flour
- 1/2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- pinch salt
In the bowl of a processor, pulse the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the almonds and blend, then add the flours, then the egg white, then the extracts and salt. Pulse until just combined.
Preheat oven to 180 C. Divide the frangipane between the cooled tart shells, it should come up just below the edge. Take the quince slices out of the syrup and dry on kitchen paper. Arrange them prettily fan-like on top of the frangipane. You may have some quince leftover.
Place the tartlets in the oven and bake until the frangipane is golden and set 25-35 minutes (longer for a large tart). Leave to cool on a rack and dust with icing sugar just before serving.
Serve with vanilla ice cream and flaked almonds.
This is a really lovely dessert or afternoon tea. The almond frangipane and subtly fragrant quince are a delicious combination.
Have a great weekend!!