However tempting it is each time I photograph a post to sample, more often than not I am able to resist eating much more than a bite or two. I'd much rather save the treat for a later time when I can sit down properly and enjoy it with a cup of tea or big ole cup of a joe.
These tarts made with quince curd are a seductive mix of creamy apple and lemon flavors topped with a gorgeous crispy brûlée topping. For the uninitiated, quince resemble an apple, pear cross with an unmistakable almost citrus flavor.
Quinces are perhaps most famously used in Spanish cuisine, but really are delicious in a variety of recipes, my favorite being a Quince Tarte Tatin. Perhaps one of the reasons quinces are not as famous as their other fruity friends has to do with the fact that they cannot be consumed raw. It's only through the wonderful alchemy of cooking that the beautiful, complex flavors come to the fore. Woody fleshed and odd tasting while raw, once cooked the fruit becomes smooth, soft and a perfect balance of tart and sweet.
I'm a huge fan of lemon curd and given the opportunity I could easily sit down with a spoon and a jar and make inroads. The idea of a quince curd was so intriguing I couldn't not give it a go. And what a better way to enjoy it than in a tart, with a crispy, sugary, brulee topping? The recipe below makes enough for 12 tarts with some extra curd left over, lucky for you and me. I can hardly wait to smear it on some toast and scones or make midnight forays to the fridge, spoon in hand..
Quince Curd Brulee Tarts
Recipe adpated from The British Larder
For the Crust:
1 1/2 C. all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 C. cold butter cut into small pieces
6-8 T. ice water
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, sugar and butter. Pulse until it resembles coarse meal. With the blade running, drizzle the ice water through the feed tube until the dough forms a ball and pulls from the side of the bowl. Divide dough into two equal portions, and roll each piece out to 1/4" thickness between two pieces of waxed paper. Place dough on a cookie sheet and refrigerate while making the curd.
For the Curd:
2 large quinces,(about 3/4 of a lb. or 400 gr.) peeled, cored and cut into large chunks
1/3 C. or 75 g lemon lemon juice
1/2 C plus 2 T. or125 g. sugar
6 T. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
To make the curd: Place the quince chunks into a large saucepan and cover completely with water. Simmer over medium heat 20-30 minutes until the quince is soft and can be easily pierced with a fork.
Drain and the puree the fruit with an immersion blender until the fruit is smooth and free of lumps.
Place fruit puree in a heatproof bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water.
In a smaller separate bowl, combine the lemon juice, the sugar and the eggs. Whisk to incorporate. Add this mixture to the warm puree, whisking while slowly combining. The puree will not be completely smooth, there will still be very small bits of texture but this does not effect the taste nor appearance of the tart. Cook the curd over medium for 20 minutes or so, avoid letting the curd get too hot as it will curdle.
Once sufficiently thickened, remove the curd from the heat and add the cold butter in stages, whisking to thoroughly incorporate.
Set the bowl in the refrigerator to cool completely while you prepare the tarts.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 6 tart tins with the pastry. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Prick the bottoms of each tart tin, place a small piece of tin foil or parchment paper inside each one then fill with dry beans or pie weights. Bake 20-30 minutes until the pastry cases are a light golden brown. Repeat the procedure again so you are left with 12 tarts.
Allow to cool completely. Once cooled, fill each tart case with the curd and sprinkle approximately 1 T. of granulated sugar on top of each tart.
Use a small torch to caramelize the sugar. Refrigerate or serve immediately.