Monday, 6 December 2010

We Dined on Quince*


The gift of a large bag of golden Japanese quince from Mark recently gave me the opportunity to try out some recipes much earlier than I'd anticipated when I bought my own quince plant. His crop was quite variable, ranging from teeny tiny fruit no larger in circumference than a 10p coin through to ones more like medium sized apples.

The small ones have been converted into jars of amber quince jelly a la River Cottage's Preserves as they would have been too fiddly to peel and core for anything else. Then Love and a Licked Spoon came to my aid by posting a timely recipe for Quince Tarte Tatin: just the thing for the larger fruit.

I view most recipes as a guide from which I can freely wander if needed and according to what I have to hand. This one was no exception: for her tarte tatin, Debora's preferred pastry was puff and the final tarte is assembled upside down prior to baking. It's only when it's served that the tarte is turned right side up and the perfectly arranged fruit are on view.

I only had shortcrust pastry and I didn't feel confident enough to go down the upside down route, so my version is much more like making a quiche. I thought my Japanese quince were small when compared to those from a proper quince tree, so I doubled the number used in the recipe.

I also found that my carefully sliced quince cooked down to a pale golden fluff, so I was unable to replicate the whorls of fruit when I put my version together. As you can see, the final result is a golden orange colour due to the caramelisation process during the later stages of cooking.

However, these diversions made no difference to the most important component of all: taste. Imagine a treacle tart combined with the taste and texture of citrussy Meltis fruits and you'll have some idea of the treat we've had. I'm making another one today and that'll be the end of a most lovely gift :(

I'll leave the final words to NAH: Can I have some more please?

* = with apologies to Edward Lear

11 comments:

  1. That sounds lovely. Hmm, wonder where we can slip a quince in the garden...

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  2. That looks so beautiful, and sounds so tasty... Are some Japanese Quince more tasty than others? Which variety did Mark give you? Like Hillwards I feel a need to add one to my garden, and think I have the perfect spot...

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  3. VP girl that looks so delicious I have to wrap this comment up fast because you have made me crave it now! Naughty !! LOL
    We are getting a new episode of Dr. Who here for Christmas .. how do you like this new "Who" ?
    Joy : )

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  4. I had loads of quinces this year and kept meaning to pick them - suddenly it was too late. Now I feel extra guilty looking at your lovely tarte.

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  5. It looks beautiful. Very cheerful and sunny and . . . you must be sad to see it all eaten!

    Esther

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  6. Lovely colour, that tarte, VP.
    Just read that sentence above and realized the spelling of tarte and punctuation quite important!
    Just a bowl of quinces in the house looks and smells beautiful.
    Did you use a runcible spoon for authenticity?
    Lost all my feeds in the transfer of data from old to new hard drive. So rebuilding my reading list.
    So you are on this one!
    Best
    R

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  7. Hillwards - I've often seen Japanese quince used as a low hedge or against a wall in the garden. Is this a possibility for you?

    Plantaliscious - I don't know which variety Mark gave me. I've gone for C. 'Crimson and Gold' and I've heard good reports of 'Geisha Girl' and 'Cido'. Double flowered varieties aren't so good though.

    Joy - hello again :) I think Matt Smith is great - if you're getting the same episode as us at Christmas then it looks good

    Mark - could be tough if NAH wants seconds again ;)

    EG - you know what to do next year :)

    Esther - I made another one yesterday. Then yes I'll be sad, but I also have a bag of apples to deal with!

    Robert - good to see you! We've been wondering exactly what a runcible spoon is ;) Their scent is incredible isn't it? Worth growing just for that alone.

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  8. Looks wonderful! And quince jelly as well. I'm jealous.

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  9. Now that looks a seriously good tart VP. There was a quince in our last garden - must introduce one here or at the lottie. We have the national collection of quinces just down the road at Norton Priory and I have a little jar of their quince cheese lined up for some seasonal munching.

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  10. Colleen - we've just tried the first jar of quince jelly. It's delicious - as was Mark's mum's version :)

    Anna - mine's going on the allotment. It'd be great to see the National Collection.

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