Friday, April 5, 2013

Quince and pomegranate autumn tart

My friend Julia brought me some quinces and pomegranates from her dad's garden in Prince Albert and, having never cooked with quinces before, I was unsure of what to do with them. Last night I was invited for dinner at a friends house and so, decided I would bring dessert. I thought an easy, autumn tart would do the trick, that way I would make the best out of both the pomegranates and the quinces. It turned out really well and I would definitely make it again. If you don't have quinces, they can easily be substituted with pears or peaches for this dessert.

For the base

1 packet of tennis biscuits
50g of butter or margarine, plus some extra

Blitz the biscuits in a food processor and add the melted butter (add extra depending on consistency). For a gluten-free/dairy-free version, use gluten-free biscuits and margarine.
Press the biscuit mixture into the base of `spring-form tin, lined with baking parchment. Put in the freezer to set while poaching the quinces.

For the poached quinces

2 large quinces, peeled, cored and sliced into half-moon segments
1 cup sugar
3 cups water
2 vanilla pods, snapped in half
1 teaspoon of lemon zest

Place all ingredients in a pot, dissolve sugar and poach quinces over medium-high heat for 30-40 minutes. Remove quinces with a slotted spoon. Allow liquid to reduce further.
Place poached quinces onto tart, covering the surface in a pattern, if you like. Place in the fridge while preparing the pomegranate syrup.

Pomegranate syrup

Juice of 2 large pomegranates (about 2/3 of a cup), reserving some seeds for garnishing.
1/3 a cup of sugar

Dissolve the sugar in the pomegranate juice, boil over medium-high heat until reduced, swirling the pan occasionally until a syrup forms. Watch carefully as it won't take too long. Set aside.
Fetch the tart from the fridge, drizzle pomegranate syrup over the quince tart. Place back into fridge.
Remove the vanilla pods and zest from the reduced quince liquid and give it a fast boil to allow the texture to thicken and become syrup like. Mix any remaining pomegranate syrup in the quince syrup and set aside. Chill the tart for a further hour. The quince syrup will become almost jam-like in consistency.
Serve the tart scattered with pomegranate seeds and a spoonful of quince 'jam' on top and a scoop of ice-cream for something extra. 

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