Hazelnut Quince Tartlets, Tea Time Style
Quinces are one of the fruits I miss the most since I moved to South Carolina. My mom used to make the best quince jelly and I remember freely spreading it on fresh bread, spooning it into my yogurt in the morning. Little did I know back then that I would have such a difficult time finding it here and that the mere thought of it would send me into severe nostalgia!
Marce’s post a couple of weeks ago made me come up with these little tartlets. I could taste the quince in her tart right through the monitor screen. I left a comment saying that I had found quinces, but at $1.99 a quince (yes, you read right) I was really hesitating investing just to satisfy a nostalgic craving! Well, I broke down and bought one…yep, just one…It was small, but smooth and fragrant and my little orphan quince was nice enough to allow me to make 4 little tartlets, perfect for an afternoon tea.
I first thought about making quince tartlets after seeing a picture in this wonderful and magic book, La Cuisine des Fees. Each recipe is inspired by a dish featured in a well known fairy tale and here the character of the "King of tartelettes " in "L Oiseau de Verite" by E. Le Noble inspired beautiful round glistening quince tarts.
Well, the recipe required 4 plump fruits and my single quince needed to be stretched further than that! I made a hazelnut shortbread dough for the tartlets base and carefully sliced and roasted thin slices of the quince with some spices and in no time at all, I had the best four-bite snack, satisfying my craving and sending me back to the time I used to put a stool by the stove and help my mom stir the quince jam she was making.
Quince Tartlets, inspired by La Cuisine des Fees:
For the dough:
170 gr. flour (6 oz)
60 gr. powdered sugar (2 oz)
100 gr butter, at room temperature (3 1/2 oz)
1 egg white
40 gr skinned hazelnuts (3 1/2 oz)
pinch of salt
In a food processor, place the hazelnuts and powdered sugar and pulse until finely ground. add the flour, egg white, salt and butter and pulse until the dough just comes together. Gather into a ball, flatten it between two sheets of plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. This can be prepared the day before.
When ready to use, roll the dough out in between the sheets of plastic wrap as it becomes soft and sticky very fast. Cut out 4 inch rounds with a cookie cutter.
Bake at 350 F until light golden. Let cool while you prepare the quince.
Bake cookies with the remaining dough or save and freeze for another project.
For the roasted quince:
1 quince, cored, peeled and cut into thin slices
2 Tb butter
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 Tb brown sugar
Layer the slices in a baking dish, sprinkle with the spices and sugar. Add the butter into small pats all over. Roast at 350 F, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
To assemble: divide the quince slices evenly among the tartlet bases and sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. A scoop of vanilla bean ice cream would be great with it too!