Quinces are one of the oldest fruits dating back to 1275 in the UK when Edward I planted them (well I reckon he ordered someone to plant them for him) in the Tower of London.
Despite the history of quinces in the UK, they can be hard to come by, if you’re lucky enough to have a good greengrocer then you might be able to find some.
I have access to a tree, well it belongs to my boyfriend’s Mum. Normally there’s a huge glut of quinces and we can’t keep up with them all. This year, we had an early summer and it meant there weren’t as many quinces, so no boiling up big batches of quince to turn it into quince paste or making jars of jam.
This time I decided to roast the delicate fruit, I saw a recipe that roasted the quinces with bay leaves and what looked like a lot of sugar. Quinces are very tart though and the amount of sugar was exactly right. They produce a really delicious syrup as well, apparently it’s good in cocktails or as a cordial. I’ve kept it in a jar in the fridge at the moment though as I don’t want to waste it.
The roasted quince would actually be really nice as they are, served with a sweetened creme fraiche or maybe some mascarpone and a drizzle of the syrup. I used them in this pie and they taste so good, they’re really soft to the bite, but not falling apart and they stand up to the crumble topping really well.
The shortcrust pastry recipe I’ve used here is from Julie Jones new book Soulful Baker, it’s a great book and a fantastic recipe, I really recommend you get yourself a copy.
- ***Shortcrust Pastry***
- 230g Plain Flour
- 125g Unsalted Butter
- 50g Icing Sugar
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
- 1 Egg Yolk + 1 Egg for glazing
- 2 Tbsp Milk
- ***Roasted Quinces***
- 4 Large Quinces
- 250g Granulated Sugar
- 2 Bay Leaves
- ***Crumble Topping***
- 100g Plain Flour
- 100g Porridge Oats
- 75g Demerara
- 140g Butter, cubed
- 50g Pecans, chopped
- Begin by making the pastry. Place the flour and butter in a bowl of a food mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and gently mix until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the icing sugar and vanilla bean paste and mix through.
- Add the egg yolk and the milk and mix until it starts to form a dough.Take the dough out of the machine and shape it into a block about 1cm thick, this will make it easier to roll out.
- Rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
- Take a 28cm flan/pie dish and roll out the pastry between two sheets of greaseproof paper so that you don't add any extra flour. When the pastry is rolled out big enough to cover the tin lay the pastry over the tin, pressing it into the sides and base of the tin.
- Leave the excess pastry overhanging the edge, this will help with shrinkage. Trim the pastry a little if necessary.
- Place the pastry case in the fridge for 30mins to chill a little. Pre-heat the oven to 180C Fan/200C and line the pastry case with baking parchment and baking beans. Blind bake the pastry for 15 minutes. Then remove the baking beans and baking parchment and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
- Check the pastry over to see if it needs any of the cracks patching use some raw pastry and fill the holes. Take the egg wash and brush it all over the pastry and bake for another 15 minutes.
- When the pastry is golden, remove it from the oven and leave it cool, then take a vegetable peeler and shave off the excess pastry to remove it.
- Heat the oven to 140C Fan/150C/300F/Gas2, peel and core the quinces and slice them into sections.
- Place the quarters in a baking tray, sprinkle over the sugar and the bay leaves.
- Cover lightly with foil and bake for 1hr30mins, turning the fruit a couple of times during cooking.
- When the quinces are soft, sticky and a beautiful burnt-orange colour, they are ready. Leave them to cool completely before using. Save some of the liquid for use later.
- To make the crumble topping, mix the flour, oats and sugar with a pinch of salt, then rub in the butter until you have an uneven crumbly mix. Then add in the pecans.
- To assemble the tart, take the roasted quinces and lay them in a neat circle in the base of the tart, brush the quinces with a little of the liquid to moisten them, but don't use too much as you don't want the pastry to be soggy.
- Sprinkle the crumble over the top of the quinces and bake in an oven pre-heated 160C Fan/180C until golden.
- Serve warm with cream or custard, or leave to cool and eat cold.
Thanks for reading.