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Quince Tarte Tatin

Quince Tarte Tatin
Laura McCandlish for NPR

Georgeanne Brennan resurrects this old recipe in her new cookbook Gather (Sasquatch Books 2009). Using quince yields a rosy syrup and zing that apples can't match. Garnish each piece with a dollop of sweetened creme fraiche. I used whole wheat pastry flour for the crust. My topping didn't adequately caramelize because I couldn't find my Pyrex pie dish; use a glass one if you can, so you can watch as it bakes.

Makes 8 servings

Quince Filling

6 to 8 large, ripe quinces

2 cups red wine (merlot, syrah or a Rhone-style blend)

1/2 cup sugar

One 2-inch piece vanilla bean, slit

1 cup sultana raisins


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons total) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into chunks

6 tablespoons ice water


2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1/2 cup sugar, divided


Peel and core the quinces and cut them into slices about 3/8-inch thick. In a large bowl, combine the wine, sugar and vanilla bean. Add the quinces and raisins. Cover and let the quinces marinate overnight at room temperature, turning them several times to ensure an even color.


Combine the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse once or twice. Add the butter and pulse only until pea-sized bits form, about 45 seconds. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing just until a ball of dough forms, about 1 minute. Gather the ball, cover it in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Using 1 tablespoon of the butter, heavily grease a baking dish 9 or 10 inches in diameter and 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep. Sprinkle the bottom with 1/4 cup of the sugar.

With a slotted spoon, remove the quince slices and raisins from the wine marinade. Arrange the quince slices snugly, making concentric circles in a single layer around the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle a third of the raisins and a third of the remaining sugar over the quince slices. Repeat this entire process twice, but since the second and third layers of quince won't be visible once the tart is inverted, they don't have to be arranged quite as carefully. Cut the remaining butter into small pieces and dot the top of the quince.

On a lightly floured board, roll out the pastry dough 1/8-inch thick and just a little bit larger than the diameter of the baking dish. Drape the pastry over the rolling pin and transfer it to the baking dish. Unfold it and gently place it over the quince, tucking the dough inside the dish. Press the edge of the crust gently against the sides of the dish. Lightly prick the pastry all over with a fork. Bake the tart until the crust is golden and a thick, garnet-colored syrup has formed in the bottom of the baking dish.

When the tart is done, remove it from the oven and let it stand just a few minutes. Run a sharp knife between the pastry crust and the edge of the baking dish to ensure that nothing is sticking. Invert a serving platter on top of the baking dish, and, using a hot pad, hold the platter and the dish firmly together and flip them over, so the dish is upside-down on the platter. The tart will unmold itself onto the platter. Should any slices of quince stick to the bottom of the baking dish, simply replace them on the tart. Serve warm.

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