Quince Tarte Tartin (can be dairy-free and vegan)

I poached the quinces yesterday in a light syrup roughly following the measurements in Gloria’s post at Laundry etc.  They stayed in the syrup until today and with a bought pack of puff pastry this was one of the easiest most delicious tart I’ve ever made.  I had to slap my own hand to stop eating the poached slices yesterday because they were so addictive.  Poached quince tastes like a very fragrant apple but with a slightly denser texture.

I’ve eaten quince cheese most years either made by my Gran or bought good quality but I don’t remember ever eating quinces as a fruit like this.  From now on they’re going to be on my must have list and I will endeavour to track them down and cook them in tarts and cakes.  The other alternative I thought of making was a steamed pudding…very English and very appropriate for a cold January.

The tart I made in the photograph is dairy-free because I wanted to make sure it worked fine with the caramel and it does, perfectly, which means you can make this a Vegan dessert…very difficult to find gorgeous tasting vegan desserts…I can tell you that from experience.

Notes On Making Tarte Tartin

I made the tartin in an inappropriate frying pan, the sides are really too deep and should slope out a bit but I wanted to show how it’s possible to make it even in the wrong pan and still have a tarte tartin.  This is one of the easiest desserts to make…really…some people I know have a hung-up about caramel but actually you don’t have to make caramel here at all, all you’re doing is melting the sugar until it bubbles…you don’t have to wait for it to colour.

I looked at other recipes for tarte tartin because of posting here and how cooks treat the apples is so varied.  In my old Larousse Gastronomique the recipes states to add the sugar raw to the pan dot some knobs of butter over it and place the apples on top more sprinkling of sugar and follow with pastry.  Other recipes they ask to make a light caramel first, then add apples.   In one of Raymond Blanc’s books he caramelises the apples first on the stove then cooks the apples further in the oven, brings it out to add the puff pastry and continues cooking.

When I’ve made apple tarte tartin I followed pretty much the same method here of melting the sugar add apples cook a little add butter cook just for a few minutes on top of the stove…then add pastry and finish in the oven.

Oops…What If It Doesn’t Turn Out?
Today was a good example of when turning over the tart on to the serving plate the tart was stuck to the frying pan!  When the pan comes out of the oven you’re suppose to give it a couple of minutes before turning over…I had left it a few too minutes too long, the caramel had harden and everything was stuck to the pan.  In this case put the frying pan on the stove warm it for a couple minutes on slow heat when you hear sizzle the caramel will be soft once more…try it again.

Pastry for the Tarte Tartin
You can of course make the tart with shortcrust pastry and in fact in Larousse Gastronomique it’s shortcrust not puff but I happen to have a soft spot for warm flaky pastry with fruit.  If you want to make shortcrust, I have a recipe here and if you want tips on how to make and roll it have a look at this posting on pastry here.

If you don’t have to avoid dairy-free pastry, look out for the all butter puff pastry packs in the supermarket shelves, they taste very good.

Raw Pastry
The first time I made it, oven temperature was too hot,  190C / 375F / gas 5 I baked it for 30 minutes and it came out looking done on the top of the pastry but was too raw in the middle.  It’s better to bake it at a lower temperature for longer.  If your pastry does come out raw in the middle all is not lost, put the tart on a baking sheet put it back in a low oven 160C / 320F / gas 2 for about 20-25 mins.

When I was showing Bikerboy these photos he said, “why is the background so blue?”.  I haven’t touched them, I don’t with my photos just lighten them during the winter.  The blue background on the photos below is a white plate!  Daylight in the winter is completely different from the spring and summer months…I wished I lived in a milder climate!



Quince Tarte Tartin

Poaching Quinces

  • 4-5 quinces (weighing just over a kilo)
  • About 1 litre of water (2 pints)
  • 250g sugar (1 cup)
  • juice of half a lemon

Peel and cut the quinces into thick slices, I cut them into halves then quarters and then cut again.  Pup them into a bowl adding the lemon juice to stop them from discolouring.
When ready to poach then add them to the pan if the water is not enough to cover them add a little more, add the sugar and bring to a simmer.
Simmer very gently so not to brake them, for an hour or so until putting tip of knife through they’re soft but not falling apart.  You can leave them like this for a few days in its syrup in the fridge.

Poaching the quinces.

Making the Tarte Tartin

Pre-heat oven to 180C / 350F / gas 4.  Non-stick frying pan 25 cm ( 10″ )

  • poached quinces from above
  • 1 pack of puff pastry or 1 pack of shortcrust pastry
  • 3 tablespoons sugar roughly
  • 2 tablespoons of syrup from poaching the pears OR if you want it more traditional use 2 tbsp butter instead

You can make this tart ahead and then re-heat it in a warm oven for 10 minutes.

In the frying pan add the syrup and sugar to the pan, melt the sugar until it’s bubbling.
Take it off the heat and arrange the slices of quinces as tight as you can fit, really tight.

Measure out your pastry but cut it slightly on the generous side as puff pastry will shrink a bit.
Put it over the quinces and tuck it right in so it’s snug against the quinces.

Bake it in the pre-heated oven for about 40 mins.

Wait a couple of minutes and turn it over onto your serving plate.

Serve Warm with ice-cream or cream.