Fish & Shellfish
Puddings & Desserts
I’ve often read that quinces will fill a room with their fragrance, but mine have never seemed to give off much of an aroma until they were cooked - until this year, that is, when they seem to be making up for lost time. A trug full of them on the kitchen table at the moment is not only filling the room but the whole house with their wonderful apple-vanilla scent. It fades in the evening, but during the day it’s amazing. Talking to other gardeners, it seems it’s not just me whose quince tree has had a good harvest this autumn, and judging by the huge number of views I had for last week’s quince recipe, it sounds as though there are a lot of people looking for ways to use them! So I’m happy to oblige with another couple of recipes this week.
If you don’t happen to have a stash of quinces, the tartlets work well with dessert apples or plums too - if you use apples or plums, there’s no need to poach them first.
I started by making membrillo - the delicious quince paste that’s usually served with cheese (my membrillo recipe). Then once the membrillo was made, I used some of it as a jammy layer in the base of the tartlets (a bit like using jam in a Bakewell tart) - but you could use any flavour of jam for the recipe, if you prefer. Or, of course, you could buy membrillo - it’s often sold in little pots alongside the cheese in larger supermarkets.
First, de-fluff, peel and slice the quinces, removing the core as you go. Poach in just enough water to cover, with lemon juice and a tsp of sugar, for about 10 minutes until they are just tender. Drain and leave to cool (save the liquid to serve as a pouring sauce).
Next, make a frangipane filling: Cream the butter and sugar together (by hand or in a food mixer), slowly beat in the eggs and then stir in the almonds.
Roll out the pastry and line 6-8 tartlet tins (I used Yorkshire pudding tins with individual indents, to give me 6 oversized tartlets). Spread the membrillo over the base of each pastry case, then spoon in the frangipane and top with the quince slices. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds.
Bake at 180C (fan oven) for 35-40 mins until the top is set and lightly browned. You can drizzle them with honey at this stage to make them nice and shiny (although they are quite sweet already so only do this if you have a sweet tooth!) Serve warm or cold (with the reserved liquid to pour over if you're having it as a pud rather than with a cup of tea).
The pastry and the frangipane can be both be made a day ahead and kept in the fridge. Both freeze well too, so you can get well ahead with this if you want to and then just assemble and bake the tartlets on the day you want to eat it.