Fidget, no…what are you doing?
Who on earth would mince a quince? But we live and learn. And before Fidget does any more damage in the cartoon kitchen, we move on swiftly to this delicious recipe. Delicious in more ways than one because, coincidentally, inspiration comes from Delicious magazine.
Here are the ingredients: 2 large quinces, 1 lemon, 130g caster sugar, 175g unsalted butter, 100g flour, 1 sachet baking powder, 3tsp mixed allspice, pinch of salt, 25g light muscovado sugar, 25g dark muscovado sugar, 20ml Cointreau liqueur, 3 large eggs, 100g honey, 25g fresh ginger grated, 1tsp vanilla extract.
Start by peeling and then cutting the quinces in 2cm strips and putting them in a bowl of water mixed with lemon juice (so they don’t go dark). Then prepare the caramel for the base: put the sugar and 3tbsp water in a pan and dissolve the sugar on a low heat; bring to the boil and cook for 5min until it turns amber. Remove from the heat and mix in 50g of the butter (be careful, the caramel is very hot). Pat dry the quince slices with kitchen paper, add to the caramel mixture, cook for 5min, then turn them over and cook for another 5min until they are just about tender when pierced with a sharp knife.
Lift the quince slices out of the caramel and arrange them (decoratively, if you can) to line a 23cm heavy duty tin, lightly buttered. Cook the caramel again until it has reduced slightly, then pour over the quinces and leave to cool.
Meanwhile prepare the sponge: sift flour, spices and salt in a bowl. Separately beat the remaining 125g butter with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, add the muscovado sugars and Cointreau, beat for a few minutes then add the eggs one at a time – adding a good tbsp of the flour with each egg. Beat in the honey, grated ginger and vanilla extract. Add half the remaining flour and mix well. Add the baking powder to the flour that is left, mix well and add to the batter mixture. Phew.
Pour the batter over the quince pieces and bake for 15–20min in a pre-heated oven at 180°/gas 4 until the top of the sponge is well coloured. Cover loosely with a sheet of foil, lower to 170°/gas 3 and bake for another 35–40min until a skewer pushed in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool for 10min, then turn the tatin onto a plate and serve with custard, balsamic glaze or – like the Rowes – a delicious cocoa balsamic.
Oddly, perhaps, we’ve featured this recipe now because quinces can be difficult to come by; they are an autumn thing, really – but it means you’ll be ready for when you see them: “Ah, I must do that quince tatin”, you’ll say!
All turned out well in the end, and no quinces were harmed during the making of this treat, despite Fidget’s misguided enthusiasm. Texture is the thing, so whatever you do, please don’t mince the quince!