I have a new favourite dessert: a quince tart with a maple caramel and a buttery whole wheat crust.
Have you met quince before? (Remember my Quince Clafoutis?) It’s my favourite fruit: looks like an apple, and smells like the most floral perfumed fruit you’ll ever find! It’s quince time right now in Toronto, and I couldn’t be happier. I managed to grab a hold of six quince, and wanted to do something really special with them. I made this tart for a dinner party with friends, and couldn’t have picked anything better.
Look out, you can’t eat it raw. You need to cook it for a nice long time — you can roast it, poach it, stew it, bake it, and even make jam or jelly (which I would eat with an aged Spanish manchego cheese).
This dessert is inspired by a tarte tatin, the French apple/caramel & pastry dessert where the tart is baked upside down so the fruit cooks in the caramel. Instead of all the flipping, I just baked this one right-side-up. And instead of using sugar, I made a “caramel” using maple syrup and butter. And the taste is decadent and simply divine.
Quince undergoes the most wonderful alchemy when you bake it: it turns from pale apple-like raw fruit to the most glorious ruby-red, sweet and floral ambrosia.
See — Before Baking: (meh, it’s yellow and pale…)
After Baking: (WOW!)
This was the inaugural bake in my new tart pan, and I am super pleased with the results! It’s so much prettier than baking in the springform pans I’ve been using for my tarts so far. You can expect many more tarts in my Kitchen Operas future!
And of course, you’ve got to serve it with a little vanilla whipped cream. I also stewed up some extra quince slices and they got even redder than the slices in the tart — they looked so pretty on the side of the plate! I highly recommend enjoying this with people you love and a glass of port on a crisp Fall night. Perfect!
Quince Tart with Maple Caramel
Adapted from Quince Tarte Tatin, Serves 8-10
Whole Wheat Pastry
- 2 c. whole wheat flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 c. cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 1/3 c. cold water
Quince & Maple Caramel Filling
- 4 quince, washed to remove the fuzz
- 1/2 c. butter
- 1 c. maple syrup
Vanilla Whipped Cream
- 1 c. whipping cream (35% milk fat)
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla paste
Mix together whole wheat flour and salt. Add in the butter, and mix together with your fingers until the butter is incorporated into the flour and you have pea-sized little clumps of butter. Sprinkle the cold water over the top of the flour/butter mixture, and let rest for 15 seconds. Mix together with your hands until the dough forms a ball. Roll out into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes.
While the dough is chilling, prepare the quince. Core the quince, and slice into thin slices leaving the peels on. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, melt butter into maple syrup to make a maple caramel, then add the quince slices and toss to coat. Heat over medium heat until the quince begins to soften.
Preheat oven to 375F.
After the dough has chilled for 30 minutes, remove it from the fridge and roll out. Press it into your tart pan. You don’t need to be precious here. If you get any tears, just patch them together by pressing the dough down.
Using a pair of tongs, create concentric circles of quince slices, starting from the outside edge and working your way in. It’s worth taking your time here to make it really lovely. Pour any extra maple caramel over top of the fruit. (If not all of the quince makes it into the pan, you can keep heating it in the pot until it’s gone ruby red, and serve it alongside the tart).
Bake the tart for 40-50 minutes, until the pastry has browned and the quince slices have turned a ruby red.
In a food processor (or using a stand or hand mixer), combine whipping cream and vanilla paste. Blitz or whip until you’ve got a light and fluffy whipped cream!
Serve a slice of tart with a dollop of cream, and enjoy with a fork and a sense of fun!