Quince – This weird looking fruit that was once nearly impossible to find is becoming more and more available at your local grocery store, but do you know what you can do with it? This quince tart is my version a dessert found at LA hangout Huckleberry. Their quince tart with pastry cream is a crowd favorite and now you can make a version of it in your own kitchen. Think about breaking tradition and ending your Thanksgiving feast with this gorgeous dessert.
Now that the fruit is becoming easier to come by, quince recipes are also becoming more available. A couple of years ago, I posted this recipe for quince paste (aka membrillo). I make that little cheese plate darling every year. I think it’s one of THE BEST parts of the cheese plate. Plus, you can keep it for up to a year in your refrigerator.
But this quince tart won’t last that long. You’ll be lucky if it lasts through one round of dessert, it’s just that delicious. Instead of my usual tart recipes, which are crust and fruit, this tart has the quince piled on top of a luscious mound of vanilla pastry cream. While you might think this tart is going to be super sweet, it’s not. It has a light sweetness and the crust isn’t overly sweet either.
One of the reasons that quince has become easier to find is because companies like Melissa’s Produce have started bringing them into the stores. That’s where I got my supply this year – Melissa’s.
The idea for this tart came from an Epicurious poached quince recipe. The pastry cream was from my pastry class I took in Paris and the flaky crust is my trusty crust recipe that I use for just about everything now. Sure, this recipe is a bit of work, but you’ll be well rewarded. Good luck not eating all of the poached quince before you get them on the tart.
- For the Crust
- Dough Recipe
- Decorator's Sugar (optional)
- For the Pastry Cream
- 1½ Cups Whole Milk
- ½ Cup Sugar
- ¼ Cup Flour
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- 4 Egg Yolks
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- For the Quince
- 4 Whole Quince (peeled, cored, and sliced thinly)
- 7 Cups Water
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 4 Lemon Slices
- 4 Orange Slices
- 6 Crushed Cardamom Pods
- For the Pastry Cream
- Warm the milk in the saucepan just until you see it begin to steam. Don't bring it to a boil.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt. After that's mixed up add in the egg yolks and whisk them into the dry ingredients. Everything will turn into a thick paste. Just make sure that the ingredients are thoroughly combined. (Scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times even after you think you're done.)
- Pour some of the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk (vigorously) to combine. Continue to slowly pour the milk slowly into the eggs while whisking continuously. If you can't do both simultaneously, you can pour a little then whisk. Just make sure you whisk quickly to help cool the mixture, so the eggs don't cook.
- Once you've whisked all the milk into the egg mixture, pour everything back into the saucepan.
- Set the pan over medium heat and whisk constantly. The pastry cream will start to thicken after just a few minutes. Once it's thickened to a pudding-like consistency, check to see if it's come to a boil (you may need to stop whisking to see it). Once you see those big messy bubbles popping on the surface, you just need to give everything a couple more stirs then take it off the heat.
- Whisk the vanilla into the pastry cream and then pour the cream into a strainer that's been set over a large bowl. Don't push on the cream, just scrape so the strainer will catch any bits of cooked egg that may be in the pastry cream.
- Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream and chill completely.
- For the Quince
- Add the water, sugar, citrus slices, and cardamom pods to a large pot and bring it just to a simmer. Keep stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Add quince slices to the syrup and bring it back to a simmer. Cover the simmering quince with a round of parchment paper that's cut to fit the opening of your pan and simmer until the quince is just tender, about 45 minutes.
- Strain and toss the citrus and cool the quince in syrup to room temperature. The quince will take on a deep, almost rosy hue. Fish out the cardamom pods and throw them away.
- Directions for the Tart
- Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees Farenheit.
- Roll dough out between 2 pieces of parchment paper then slide onto baking sheet.
- Remove the top sheet of parchment paper.
- Spoon pastry cream into center of dough (leave about a 3" border all around)
- Drain and arrange the quince slices in circles or just pile them on top of the pastry cream.
- Use the parchment paper to help you fold up the sides around the filling.
- Pop the uncooked tart into the refrigerator for 15 minutes (to firm up).
- Sprinkle crust with sugar. (if using)
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until quince have browned on top and crust has gotten golden brown and crispy.
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