Have you ever tried a quince? This round yellow pear-like fall fruit has a wonderful and delicate flavor, but if you try to cut into it or eat it in its raw state you’ll notice that it’s a little bit…woody. Maybe chalky. Either way, not the tastiest fruit you’ll ever eat off the tree. Happily, once the quince fruit has been baked, roasted, or stewed it is softer with an almost velvety texture and more fragrant.
Being as hard of a fruit as it is, you’re not going to want to take the risk of cutting it (and slipping) with your less-than-sharp knives. That’s why it was the perfect coincidence that Cutco asked us to celebrate the fall harvest with them by sampling one of their high-quality knives, just after we received a box of pineapple quince (one of the most common varieties of quince found in the U.S.) from Melissa’s Produce. For cutting into a quince, we used this Petite Chef’s Knife. It’s got a perfect ergonomic handle and a razor-sharp blade that makes a clean slice straight through that dense and solid fruit. Once we had the quince cut, peeled and sliced, we were ready to turn it into a beautiful fall dessert.
Pineapple quince has the lovely effect of turning just a little bit pink/orange after it is baked, which is what makes this tart such a perfect fall color. We adapted this tart recipe from Martha Stewart’s Quince Tarte Tatin.
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 to 2 T. ice-cold water
For the filling:
3 to 4 large pineapple quince, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 cup sugar
Additional 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T. butter
1. Pulse the flour, salt, sugar, and butter in a food processor until evenly crumbly, about 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the ice-cold water through the feed tube and pulse for another 10 seconds or just until the dough becomes a cohesive ball. Remove the dough from the food processor, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
2. Fill a large saucepan with water. Add the 1 cup of sugar and juice from the lemon, as well as the quince slices. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer gently for 10 minutes. Drain the quince and set aside.
3. In a 9- or 10-ince cast iron pan, heat the 3/4 cup sugar and salt over medium heat, stirring frequently, so the sugar melts into syrup. Remove it from the heat (being careful not to let it burn) and then stir in the butter.
4. Carefully arrange the quince slices in a spiral fashion around the pan, filling the bottom.
5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a floured board until about 1/4 inch thick. Gently lay the dough on top of the fruit spiral and use a knife to trim it all around the edge of the pan. Tuck in the edges of the dough.
6. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Allow the tart to cool for 15 minutes, then place a large plate on top of the pan and invert the pan so that the tart is on the plate with the fruit on top. Serve warm. Serves 8.
Blogger disclosure: I received the petite chef’s knife as a sample from Cutco Cutlery. I received the quince as a gift from Melissa’s Produce. No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.