Quince crumble tart
Lately, my mind has been abuzz with all things encased in that flaky, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth combination that makes up one of the greatest loves of my life - pastry. Perhaps the blast of fresh icy winter winds is to blame for the constant dreaming of what to pair with earthy, semi-sweet buckwheat infused doughs, or the fact that my freezer has been full of frozen polenta studded pastry rounds, destined to become the vessel in which creamy goats cheese mingles with the sweetness of caramelised onions and irregular chunks of roasted pumpkin which resemble mountain peaks elevated above clouds.
It has been the former, however, which has been fighting for my attention. I adore the earthy, grassy flavours of buckwheat - whether it be in cookies, muffins or pancakes (Olia Hercules Buckwheat sourdough pancakes from her book, Summer Kitchens are a firm favourite) Combining it with another type of flour - be it plain, wholemeal, spelt or the like will ensure it is not too overpowering, especially if you are not familiar with its flavour profile.
I was originally going to pair it with persimmon, but then I was gifted two armfuls of freshly picked quince. And So the testing began.
A soggy bottom was the result of the first test, but the flavour was beautiful. So it was back to the drawing board, or should I say, the kitchen bench, armed with a few recommendations from the Bakeclub Facebook community, I rolled up my sleeves and rolled out my pastry base. Sprinkled over a mixture of almond meal, ground ginger and a touch of sugar. Arranged the glistening, ruby-hued wedges of quince on top before folding over the edges, scattering the remaining pastry, which had been grated over the top.
I can't tell you how pleased I was with the final result. It is equally as good served alone, with a dollop of creme fraiche or, if you are like my husband, a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. The resulting texture of the crumble-like pastry topping is heavenly. It adds a little interest as well as a few small "windows" in which to spy those rose-scented fruits through. A fine sifting of icing sugar is all that is needed and you have yourself a fine, rustic looking tart to enjoy any time of the day.
Quince crumble tart
Makes a 23cm tart
For the pastry
200g plain flour
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
150g unsalted butter, cold, cut into small chunks
1/4 - 1/2 cup cold water
In a medium-sized bowl, sift flour, add salt and sugar and then using the tips of your fingers rub the butter into the flour until it resembles somewhat of a coarse crumb. small chunks of butter are actually ok here. Add in enough water to bring the dough together, gently. Shape into a round disc and wrap in baking paper. Allow to rest in the fridge for at least an hour, or even better, overnight if you can. After this time, cut off a little over half of the pastry and then rewrap the smaller piece once again and pop it back into the fridge. You can also freeze your pastry round, I like to store mine in a container if I do this and then defrost in the fridge overnight. If it feels too hard to roll out, allow to sit on the bench until it is pliable enough to work with.
For the poached quinces, you can refer to this recipe here.
For the filling
3-4 poached quince, cut into wedges
1/2 cup almond meal
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
Mix the almond meal, sugar and ginger together.
Now to bring it all together...
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees fan-forced. Have ready your loose-bottomed tart tin and then on a lightly floured surface roll out the larger piece of pastry into a large round, about 2mm thick. Roll the pastry back onto your rolling pin and then carefully drape it into your tart tin. Lifting the edges up and using your fingers to gently push it into the sides.
Scatter over the almond and ginger mixture evenly. Place the quinces on top, quite close together creating circles within circles. now take the smaller piece of dough from the fridge and using the large holes of a box grater, grate the dough until you have a pile of what could almost be mistaken for grated cheese on your board.
Fold over the edges of the pastry and then scatter over the grated pastry dough. Brushing with a little milk before placing into the oven for about 45 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly, before ever so carefully removing from the tin. Dust with a little icing sugar if you so desire. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche, a scoop of ice cream or simply on its own. It will keep for a couple of days in the fridge but is best enjoyed on the day it is made, however, I can say that it was very much enjoyed on about the 4th day, wrapped in foil and heated in the oven for a few minutes, the pastry was a little soft but it still tasted wonderful.