You know a chef is fabulous when he shares his produce with you. This is exactly what happened when my ice cream-wizard friend and I had lunch at Ginger & Fig last week. Zane, the phenomenal chef gave each of us a big box of quince which he gets from his aunt’s farm. I had never cooked with quince before so I jumped at the chance and went home filled with ideas.
I knew this incredible tarte tatin would be the first thing I would make with my bounty and what a showstopper it turned out to be. I poached the quince first in a simple syrup made with sugar, water, vanilla pod and star anise. When they were cooked, I cooled them in the syrup and that is where they’ve been mingling for the last week. Instead of using the classic caramel to cook your tarte tatin with I decided to cook down a little of the poaching syrup to create a very fragrant caramel.
With the quince embedded in their fragrant caramel I topped them with a sheet of all-butter puff pastry and popped them in the oven. 40 minutes later I was met with a golden, puffed tarte tatin which smelled heavenly. I think my favourite part of this tarte tatin was that upon cooling a little, the caramel on the edges of the pastry hardened into a kind of brulee texture which was just too delicious for words. Served with vanilla-scented Chantilly cream, this has to be the most chic of chic desserts.
- 10 quince, peeled, cored and halved
- 2 litres water
- 500g sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise
- 1 star anise
- 1¾ cup poaching liquid
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 250ml cream
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise and seeds removed
- To poach the quince, combine all the ingredients for the syrup in a large pot and allow to come to a simmer.
- When the sugar has dissolved, drop in the quince and cover with a piece of baking paper before placing the lid on the pot.
- Allow to the quince to poach for 45 minutes - 1 hour until tender.
- Allow to cool in the syrup and keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- To make the tarte tatin, pre-heat the oven to 180°c.
- In a large, oven-proof pan, heat the poaching liquid and allow to reduce slightly.
- Place the quince into the pan and top with the puff pastry, tucking the pastry in to encase the fruit.
- Place the tarte tatin in the oven and allow to bake for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and puffed and the poaching liquid has turned into a deep amber-coloured caramel.
- Remove from the oven and allow to stand for a minute before turning out onto a serving plate.
- To make the Chantilly cream, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
- Serve the tarte tatin warm with the Chantilly cream.