I adore quinces, their perfume is so fragrant and I like how something inedible can be transformed in to something so beautiful and delicious. I was lucky enough to get a few in my veggie box from the wonderful people at Epicurean Supplies.
I kept them in the fruit bowl for a few days just so I could enjoy their perfume and pondered what to do with them. In the past I have made quince jelly, amber hued and perfect on toast with a cuppa. Also quince paste, or membrillo as they say in Spain, that pairs so well with cheese, especially manchego, a sharp cheddar or a creamy blue. I may just have to head out west to one of the orchards to see if I can catch the tail end of the season to preserve some quince until next year.
I was having friends over for an Easter Sunday lunch and headed towards dessert for my little quinces. So a little poaching and a little puff pastry came to mind to make a simple, light tart with a little orange blossom ice cream on the side. The ice cream complemented the mellowed vanilla and honey infused quince.
Poached Quince Tart
1/3 cup sugar
1 lemon, halved
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 sheet puff pastry
Place the water, sugar, honey, lemon and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan and turn on to a medium heat.
While the poaching liquid is heating, peel, quarter and core the quince. Be sure to remove all of the core any tough fibrous material. Place each quarter quince in the poaching liquid. Simmer for at least an hour, or until the quince are cooked through. Just check with a sharp knife.
Roll out the pastry in to an even rectangle and score a smaller rectangle, leaving an inch or 2 at the edges. Remove the quince from the saucepan reserving the poaching liquid. Slice the quince and place them in the inside rectangle, slightly over lapping each other.
Bring the reserved poaching liquid to a boil and let it bubble away for 10 minutes or until it has reduced by half.
Brush the glaze over the quince and the pastry. Place in a 180C / 350F oven for 25 - 30 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden. Remove from the oven and allow the tart to cool slightly.
Slice and serve with a little ice cream or whipped cream. I had some orange blossom ice cream
in the freezer which worked a treat. It is worth making this just to have the aroma of the poaching quinces waft around the kitchen, it is heavenly...quince scented mingled with lemon and vanilla.