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
- 500 g sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 vanilla pod split lengthwise
- 1 star anise
- 1 3/4 cup poaching liquid
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 250 ml cream
- 50 g 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.