In my childhood home, we used to have a large quince tree in the garden that gave a lot of fruit and every year at harvest time, my mother and I worked extremely hard to turn the stone-hard fruit into compote, jelly or „Quittenbrot„, a kind of condensed mush that is dried and turned in sugar crystals. So it is a rather nostalgic fruit to me of which I have not only consumed large amounts during my childhood, but with which I also associate a rather tiresome and laborious processing procedure.
Despite these bordering on painful memories, I still like the taste and luckily, I have, by now, figured out that the processing of quince is not quite as painful if it involves only one or two pieces of fruit instead of an entire tree.
And I also went for new recipes with quince one of which is this lovely French tart with an almond migaine for filling. The compote is made entirely without sugar and so the tart does not become very sweet but the taste of both the almond and quince come out very nicely.
For the pastry:
- 1 medium egg
- 50 grams of sugar
- 250 grams of flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 100 grams of soft butter
- 1 – 2 tablespoons of orange blossom water
For the compote:
- 2 large pear quinces
- 1 teaspoon of butter
- 1 star anise
For the filling:
- 1 egg
- 65 grams of sugar
- 100 grams of blanched almond, ground
- 100 grams of fresh crème fleurette (alternatively cream)
- some drops of vanilla extract (alternatively, cinnamon, lemon zest or rum also work well for flavoring)
For the topping:
- 2 tablespoons of sliced almond
- 1 tablespoon of cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon of butter
Preparing the pastry:
- Beat the egg and the sugar with an electric mixer until well mixed.
- Pass the flour through a fine-mesh sieve and add both the flour and the baking powder to the egg. Use kneading hooks to mix.
- Mix in the butter. First use the electric mixer with kneading hooks until well mixed, then continue kneading by hand on a baking mat or a clean surface. Moisten with orange blossom water and knead until you have smooth (but not sticky) dough.
- Wrap in cellophane and let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, better over night.
- At the end of the resting time, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (fan oven) and butter a tart pan.
- Roll out the dough to a size that is large enough to cover the bottom and the sides of your tart pan, than place in the tart pan and cut away any bits hanging over the rim of the pan.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough and place baking weights on the top (alternatively use dry food like rice, lentils, peas…).
- Bind-bake for 10 to 15 minutes. the crust should not turn too dark.
- At the end of the baking time, take the crust out of the oven, remove the baking weights and parchment paper and reduce the oven temperature to 165 degrees Celsius.
Preparing the compote:
- Peel the quinces, remove the seeds and the cores and cut into thin slices.
- In a flat, heavy-based (cast iron) pan, let simmer (covered) with a teaspoon of butter and the star anise for approximately 15 minutes.
- Strain and let cool down.
Preparing the filling:
- Mix the egg and the sugar until creamy.
- Then fold in the ground almond.
- Add the crème fleurette and the vanilla extract.
Preparing the tart:
- Spread the quince slices over the bottom of the crust in fan shape. Add further layers on top and place some slices in the middle as well.
- Spread the filling over the top.
- Bake at 165 degrees Celsius for approximately 40 minutes until lightly brown. 10 minutes before the end of the baking time, spread the topping over the top (see further).
Preparing the topping:
- In a non-stick pan, melt the butter on medium temperature.
- Add the almond and the sugar and toss for a couple of minutes until the sugar has melted.
- Spread over the tart 10 minutes before the end of the baking time as described above.
Let cool down and enjoy either luke-warm or cold with a teaspoon of crème fraîche.