February 8, 2015 by sarah
Following on from my post about medlars before Christmas, I had a bowlful of medlars left at the beginning of December. It was sort of deliberate as I wanted to experiment a little further using this fruit but was unsure of what to make plus a lack of time. And then I came across a recipe using medlars in a tart and it sounded intriguing. A recipe from 1660 – would it work? Would it translate to modern tastes? So I put some course work lectures on in the background and made this tart.
The original recipe is a little lacking in details:
Take medlars that are rotten, strain them, and set them on a chaffing dish of coals, season them with sugar, cinamon and ginger, put some yolks of eggs to them, let it boil a little, and lay it in a cut tart; being baked scrape on sugar.
But luckily Tracey at her Norfolk Kitchen blog had already done some research and testing and came up with this interpretation. And she is right, it is very similar to an American pumpkin pie recipe but so much nicer. Whereas pumpkin is just plain bland, the medlars lend this pie a creamy fruity intenseness which is heightened by the spices rather than being the main event as in pumpkin pie. This pie was delicious to eat at any time of day, warm or cold. Next time I may try adding some orange zest for an extra dimension, though I am not sure this sublime pie needs it.
My ever thoughtful husband bought me a cookery book for my birthday. But not just any cookery book, ‘The Compleat City and Country Cook: or Accomplifh’d Housewife’, published in 1736. There are some interesting recipes in there that I am going to experiment with when I have time. Finally a recipe for the brace of teal I have in the freezer!
8″/20cm loose bottomed tart tin, lined with shortcrust party and blind baked
bowl full of medlars (was about 500g or more)
70g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon mixed spice
Prepare the medlars – stew with a little water until soft and bash up with a potato masher. Push the fruit through a sieve, discarding the skins and seeds, and put the fruit puree in a medium bowl.
Beat in the sugar, egg yolks and spice. Taste to see if it requires more sugar or spice.
Pour this mixture into the cold blind baked pastry case. Place in the oven preheated to 180 ºC/160 ºC fan and bake for 30-40 minutes until set. Allow to mostly cool before serving with a crunchy topping of demerara sugar.
Category Home, Recipe Index | Tags: baking,medlar,pie,tart | No Comments
December 28, 2013 by sarah
I bought these quinces a few weeks ago at the Waddesdon Christmas food fair. They had been sitting in the fruit bowl, staring at me, taunting me, ‘go on then, you bought me, now cook me’! Everything I read said they were devils to cook; impossible to peel and needing long slow cooking otherwise they would stay rock hard and inedible but that the pleasures would more than overcome any trials in cooking them, in fragrance and flavour.
I have to say I am disappointed. I had procrastinated about cooking them for several weeks, waiting for this fantastic aroma that is supposed to emanate from them. It didn’t happen so I moved on to cooking with them. They weren’t that hard to peel and chop, or at least my birthday present knives, once sharpened, cut then easy enough. Then I poached them in spiced sugar syrup awaiting the transformation into rose red jewels. Instead of the half an hour of poaching they were supposed to need, they were ready in 15 minutes without a hint of pink. So came the tasting and again disappointment, like a pear crossed with an apple. I had such high hopes for them. In the end two out of the three were eaten on my morning muesli.
So we come to the recipe. After leaving organisation to the last minute, I realised on Christmas day that I would need to produce some sort of dessert for the friends coming the next day. I raided the freezer and found a packet of puff pastry and in the fruit bowl a lonely quince and some apples. So we have
French Apple and Quince Cheats Tart
packet of puff pastry, defrosted if frozen
2 eating apples e.g. granny smiths, cored but not peeled
1 lonely quince, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
fruit jelly e.g. apricot or quince
Roll out the puff pastry to a square about 30 cm on each side and cut in half so two bits about 15cm by 30cm. If it is ready rolled pastry try and find a way of getting the square or rectangle into two lengths that are not too narrow. Place on baking sheets and put in the fridge until ready to cook.
Finely slice the apples and quince into a large bowl containing the sugar mixed with lemon juice. Set aside until ready to bake.
When you want to bake them, preheat oven to 220 C or 200 C if fan.
Take the pastry rectangles out of the fridge and neatly arrange rows of the fruit slices, alternating quince and apple, so that they overlap by about half a slice but leave a clear border of pastry of about a centimetre around the edge.
Drizzle over any juices left in the bowl and dust over a thin layer of icing sugar.
Place in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.
When they come out, cool on a cooling rack while heating a couple of tablespoons of fruit jelly with a splash of water (in a pan or in the microwave), stir until the jelly has dissolved and then brush over the pastrys with a pastry brush. Serve!
If you are looking for more inspiration for what to do with quinces then see Nigel Slater, he raves about them.
Category Home, Recipe Index | Tags: apple,bake,baking,desserts,pastry,quince,tart | No Comments