Sunday, 1 April 2012
This morning I awoke to the new time. An extra hour to sleep in, but one less hour of sunshine.
It’s Autumn, my favourite time of year.
While most of my readers in the northern hemisphere are anticipating the warm weather that’s on its way, I’m getting equally excited about autumn.
The leaves turning beautiful shades of amber, ochre and crimson. The chill in the air that gives you the excuse to wear ribbed tights and wool scarves. The wonderful harvest fruits and vegetables that inspire a change of cooking in the kitchen.
Quinces are one of those harvest foods. Their pretty yellow skins and fragrant aromas reminding you that cool weather is on the way. Beautiful.
And another cold weather treat is warm desserts. I adore warm desserts.
Jonas is happy with a scoop of ice cream, but my favourite desserts are always warm.
This is the perfect autumn warm dessert using aromatic roasted quinces, prepared as individual fluted tartlets with crunchy crumble tops.
Eat warm, with lashings of vanilla custard.
Quince Crumble Tartlets
Anna's very own recipe. Makes 8 tartlets.
1 batch of shortcrust pastry (or use frozen)
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon (or cassia) quills
1 vanilla bean, split
1 cup cream
1 cup buttermilk
1 vanilla bean, split
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup ground almonds
½ cup wholemeal flour, sifted
65g cold salted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup Demerara sugar
1. Preheat oven to 180’C.
2. Peel and core quinces, reserving scraps. Cut each quince into eight pieces..
3. Scatter quince scraps along the base of a baking dish, place segments on top.
4. Nestle cinnamon quills and vanilla between pieces, then scatter with sugar.
5. Top with 1 cup water, then bake in oven until soft (about 1 hour). Allow to cool.
6. Slice quince into thin pieces so you can layer them into tarts when ready.
Prepare tart shells
7. Ensure oven is still at 180’C. Grease and line 8 tart cases.
8. Roll out pastry and place into tart cases. Prick with fork, line with paper then fill with baking weights.
9. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, then remove baking paper and weights and bake another 7 minutes.
10. Bring the vanilla bean and cream almost to the boil over a medium heat.
11. Meanwhile, whisk eggs and sugar in a bowl.
12. Remove vanilla from cream and pour over egg mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly to prevent eggs from scrambling.
13. Return the remaining custard to a sauce pan and over a medium heat, stir until it has thickened.
14. Chop butter into small cubes.
15. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl then rub the butter pieces into the flour with your finger tips until the mixture resembles crumbs.
16. Line quince slices in the base of the pastry shells, then gently pour custard over quince slices until it reaches the top of the pastry case.
17. Top with crumble mixture, then bake in over for 40 minutes or until crumble is browned.
18. Cool slightly. Serve with warm custard.