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Quince Tartlets And One Happy Tartelette

Quince Tartlets
I am telling you I am truly spoiled. Right before my parents got here with suitcases full of pans, molds, chocolates, nut pastes, extracts and other baking ingredients, I received a box filled with quinces, freshly picked by Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms. Back in June, I had a sudden craving for quinces and for some reason stores here carry them year round, regardless of the season and for the whopping price of $1.99 a quince (price does not change either!)…Ouch!! I was nostalgic enough of my mother’s quince jelly that I caved in and bought one little quince and tried to make the most out of it. A couple of days later, Elle sent me an e-mail telling me that she would be happy to send me some from her own backyard as soon as they were in season. I let a little "yippee" of joy and started to wish for September already! Kept busy by other baking project I kind of put the mighty quince out of my mind, although tempted to sneak one in my apple basket at the store…Yes, I admit I sometimes planned an escape route for my beloved fruit, free of being set on the back of the exotic fruit stand because no one knew what it was or what to do with it.

My mother makes the best jams…really hands down the best, and I am not saying that because she is my mom. Her method is at the complete opposite of all the recipes you read about lately, where the fruits may be marinated for a while but cooked rather briefly. My mom cooks her jams until it is almost caramel fruit. Hours of foaming and skimming, followed by days of the greatest scented house on the block. What does this have to do with Elle’s quinces? Well, one of my earliest food memories is of my mom perched high over a big copper jam and jelly pot, stirring quinces for hours on end, filling long stockings with the mixture and letting those drip until the coveted jelly is ready to be canned. The lengthy process, the pervading aroma, and to see the final product….my mother was a magician, a goddess, an artist (she really is but that’s for another post)…and I was so lucky that someone thought about using all of earth’s bounty and share it with the rest of her acquaintances, much like Elle when she remembered to send me the quinces. I aim to be as generous in sending "thank you’s" and "how are you’s", and trust me if it seems to take me forever to do so it has everything to do with the state of my pocket book and nothing with the gratitude of my heart.

Back to quinces and the tartlets…. You can’t expect to serve a dessert with quince in 30 minutes. First reason being that raw the fruit is reallytough and sour, then you would be missing on the deep amber colour you get after cooking it down. The natural high pectin content allows the fruit purees, jams or jellies to set very well on their own, require very little from you other than stirring…and stirring.
I had already used two of the quinces to make baked quinces, much like "baked apples" filled with nuts and cranberries. I originally thought about an quince tarte Tatin (upside down tart) but was afraid that the caramel would burn before the quinces had the chance to cook through. Instead I looked at the 8 remaining and decided to make "compote" with 4 of them and dice and slice the last 4 and caramelize them on the stove. The crust is inspired from an olive oil dough recipe found on a French blog I read daily, Eggs and Mouillettes, to which I added a pinch of cardamom…because I put this spice anywhere I can since I love it so much!
I have so many mini, medium and big tart shells, homemade (it is amazing what I have B. do with leftover Lowe’s materials, as well as cardboard and foil!) bought and borrowed that I took the liberty to play around with shapes and sizes of both the tartlets and the fruit.

Quince Tartlets
Quince Tartlets With Olive Oil and Cardamom Crust:

Makes 6 3.5-inch tartlets plus 2 4-inch tarts

For the crust:

200 gr. all purpose flour
50 gr. ground almonds
10 cl. cold water
10 cl. olive oil
1/2 tsp. round cardamom
75 gr. sugar

In a food processor, mix all the ingredients together and pulse until the dough comes together. Take the dough out of the mixer and knead a couple of times, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut out shapes for your molds as desired.

For the quince compote:

4 medium sized quinces
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup of water

Peel, core and dice the quinces. Put them in a heavy saucepan with the sugar and the water. Cook, covered over low heat until the fruit becomes all mushy and almost red, about an hour. Add more water if needed and watch that the fruit does not attach to the bottom of the pot.
Let cool to room temperature. When cooled, divide the mixture evenly among the shells.

For the caramelized quince:

4 medium sized quinces, peeled and cored
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 stick butter

Cut 2 of the quinces in small dices and slice the remaining two very thin.
Heat the butter and the sugar in a large heavy saute pan until the mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat down and add 2 quinces that have been diced. Cook until soft and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and divide them evenly among the shells of your choice.
Cook the remaining quince slices in the same fashion, adding a little sugar and butter if necessary. Remove with a slotted spoon, layer them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and let cool a couple of minutes before you handle the slices to make the rose pattern on the tartlets.
Starting from the outside, layer the slices overlapping the edges slightly, working your way to the the middle of the tartlets. Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes until the pastry shells are cooked through.
Serve warm.

Thank you Elle! I spend the afternoon with mom in the kitchen again, except that this time I was the one doing the cooking and stirring! Ah, to be a kid again!!

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Anonymous September 26, 2007 um 6:36 am

Beautiful flower pie! Nice to see a quinche recipe, you don’t see them around much. Have to ask my aunt for the recipe of her quince jelly…

Anonymous September 26, 2007 um 6:38 am

Obviously I meant tart 😉 it’s early and English is not my mother tongue 😉

Peabody September 26, 2007 um 6:47 am

You did a lovely job with your quince gift!

Pille September 26, 2007 um 7:58 am

These tartlets look exquisite! I’ve already cooked with flowering quince this year (a relative of quince, but not the same:), but I haven’t seen any quinces here yet. Hopefully in a few weeks..

Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy September 26, 2007 um 8:23 am

That second tart is a work of art! How beautiful. I’m not much of a fruit tart fan, but I love to look at this one! 🙂

Umsy September 26, 2007 um 8:56 am

I love tarts, especially fruit tarts…and yrs looks absolutely scrummm!!!

african vanielje September 26, 2007 um 9:14 am

You have really captured the essence of quince, which I love for it’s intoxicating aroma as well as it’s beautiful taste. Love the tarts.

fanny September 26, 2007 um 9:33 am

this one inspiring tart. I just love the olive oil and cardamom crusts. Sounds sooo good.

Anonymous September 26, 2007 um 10:28 am

More beautiful quince that I can’t get my hands. Lovely memories and lovely tarts from a happy tartlette!

Anh September 26, 2007 um 11:14 am

Beautiful!!! I love it!

Renee September 26, 2007 um 11:55 am

The tartlette shaped like a rose is just SOOOO beautiful! I’m in the mood for some quince jam now…

Anonymous September 26, 2007 um 12:07 pm

Hm, I’ve never had a quince before, but seeing that gorgeous tart makes me want to amend that asap!

Anonymous September 26, 2007 um 12:57 pm

These look gorgeous! And I love, love, love quince. Hopefully I will see some at my market soon so I can try these tarts!

Miss C September 26, 2007 um 1:07 pm

Mmmmm yummy! It’s too pretty to eat!

Finla September 26, 2007 um 1:11 pm

Wow that looks beautifull.The one which is like a rose amazing.I don’t think i have ever seen Quince here. ( Maybe i just passed by without noticing it) can i use pears instead?

Anonymous September 26, 2007 um 1:15 pm

Amazing Helen – what an absolutely lovely tart! I just had the last of the store-bought quince jam yesterday and if that was good I can just imagine what home-made would taste like.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) September 26, 2007 um 2:10 pm

What a perfect tart! I have a friend who has a quince tree, and every year when she offers me fruit, I turn her down, because I really don’t know what to do with them. Now I do!

Deborah September 26, 2007 um 2:44 pm

You are a true artist!!

Aimée September 26, 2007 um 4:12 pm

Looks mouth-wateringly good. You have done a fine job of cooking up your quince. Enjoy your visit with your family.

Anonymous September 26, 2007 um 4:17 pm

VERY nice crust. The whole thing looks amazing. I like how you arranged the quince in the tart. Lovely. 🙂

Abby September 26, 2007 um 4:23 pm

You’re not only a fabulous baker, but I believe you inherited your mother’s artistic talent, as well. Those are absolutely gorgeous, and one of these days if I ever become a B&B owner or a wedding planner (sigh), I’ll be calling on your talents!

Big Boys Oven September 26, 2007 um 4:34 pm

what a beauty!!! yet another surprise from you….superb!

Anonymous September 26, 2007 um 4:35 pm

how neat, i bet your mum is an angel in the kitchen, lucky you!

the tarts, i love how the crust is made, i can just tell it’s delicious.

just WOW, this tart is lovely 🙂

chem September 26, 2007 um 5:13 pm

Greetings. I was wondering what the volume abbreviation for the olive oil and water is?

Helene September 26, 2007 um 5:17 pm

Happy Cook: feel free to use pears but you need to cook them a lot less, espcially the diced ones or they will completely lose their shape.

Monique: the abbreviations mean "centiliters".

chem September 26, 2007 um 5:22 pm

That is what I thought but thought best to check. Thank you.

Joanna September 26, 2007 um 5:34 pm

These are fabulous … sorry to have broken your bank with my quince liqueur … I am going out into the garden to pick the last of my quinces, and make these tarts, also a third one, using the idea from my post about the liqueur of grating the flesh in the Magimix.

Just like you, I love quince for itself, and for the memories it evokes … first steps in cooking with my grandmother – happy days

Thanks for sharing

Anonymous September 26, 2007 um 8:58 pm

Wonderful tartelettes. Qunce is one of my alltime favorite fruits and I remeber growing up eating them raw sprinkled with salt. The pictures are as beautiful!

Anonymous September 26, 2007 um 10:22 pm

Those look absolutely smashing!

Anonymous September 26, 2007 um 11:27 pm

I’m sorry I’m pretty sure this is the wrong place for this. But how can I reach you by email? I can’t seem to find the link..

Jen the Bread Freak September 26, 2007 um 11:34 pm

I have never had a quince, but now seeing your gorgeous little tarts, I must go find some! Wonderful tarts and wonderful post, as always 🙂

Helene September 27, 2007 um 2:11 am

etahn: my email is marinette1ATcomcastDOTnet.

monica September 27, 2007 um 2:34 am

gorgeous flower tarts! i MUST try that olive oil and cardamom crust! and the quince jam…divine. i hope you are having a grand time with your family

Fabienne September 27, 2007 um 10:32 am

Oh, je suis très contente que toi aussi tu ais été tentée par la pâte à tarte à l’huile d’olive…
Tu sais combien l’huile d’olive me tient à coeur ….

Mallow September 27, 2007 um 1:40 pm

I must track down some quince (quinces?) – I am so curious what they are like! Beautiful tart!

Finla September 27, 2007 um 3:28 pm

Thanks for the information.
I will try with pears and let you know

Anita September 27, 2007 um 5:22 pm

I’m waiting for quince to come into the markets here! Your gorgeous creations have totally inspired me…and your mom sounds awesome!

Belinda September 27, 2007 um 7:45 pm

Oh, these quince tarts are just exquisite, Helene! You amaze me with your creations…and it sounds like some of that talent rubbed off on you from your Mom. 🙂

Anonymous September 27, 2007 um 9:27 pm

Oooh that bird’s eye view of the rose is pretty damn cool and impressive! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

Warda September 27, 2007 um 11:30 pm

Helene, la dernier photo est a tomber par terre et ne plus se relever… Simplement divin. Je suis si contente que tes parents sont la pour quelque temps. Les miens me manquent tellement. Passe de bons moments avec eux et amusez-vous bien ma cherie.

Oh for the love of food! September 28, 2007 um 3:16 am

How very pretty those tartlets are, Helen, and I can imagine how sensational they would taste!

Mercotte September 28, 2007 um 7:00 am

de l’huile d’olive et de la cardamome mais je la veux cette pâte et tout de suite !! Et bravo pour le décor quelle patience !

lululu September 28, 2007 um 7:24 pm

OMG!!! These tarts look really elegant!!!

. . . September 28, 2007 um 10:36 pm


Eva October 1, 2007 um 4:39 am

Before embarking on a one-week work trip, I baked three quinces in the oven and put them into the fridge with all that was left of the juices. I had in mind making something like your beautiful tarts as soon as I’d be back… However, last night I discovered that they all had gone mouldy. Now all I can do is staring at the screen and wishing I had one of your tarts…:-(

Amy October 1, 2007 um 6:47 pm

Oh my gosh, it’s gorgeous! I hope I get a chance to bake with quince one day. 🙂

amy123 April 1, 2011 um 12:40 pm

je vous remercie pour votre part
Je l'aime beaucoup

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