Monday, 6 December 2010
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