Baked Quince Tarts

This recipe adapted by Islington Hotel’s own chef Natalie Frohmader with respectful acknowledgement of our favourite cookbook of the moment ‘The Engine Room No 115’

Makes 6

For the poached quinces

4 quinces
2 cup of caster sugar
2 oranges -juiced and peeled with a peeler (be careful not to get too much pith)
4 cups of water
3 star anise
To poach the quinces make a sugar syrup by bringing the sugar, water, orange peel and juice and star anise to the boil. Pour the hot syrup into a deep tray and as soon as you peel core and quarter the quinces place them in the syrup. Cover with baking paper and foil and place into the oven at 180c for 30 minutes, turn oven temp down to 120c and continue to cook until quinces are soft (up to 3 hours).
Cool quinces down in their syrup and store in their syrup until required.

For the pastry (taken from chef Damien Pignolet)

240g flour
40g caster sugar
Pinch salt
180g butter, chilled and grated
3 Tablespoons iced water.

In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt, add the butter and pulse to a fine crumb.
With the processor going add water until the mix just starts to form a ball.
Work quickly to bring dough together into a flat disc and refrigerate for an hour.
Butter 6 x 8cm loose bottom tart tins.
On a lightly floured surface roll out pastry and cut 6 circles large enough to slightly overhang the sides of the tins. Press the pastry into the tins and trim the edges. Refrigerate for another hour.
Preheat oven to 180c and dock the pastry with a fork. Blind bake the pastry shell using baking paper and rice or other dried beans etc. Bake shells for approximately 25 minutes and then remove the baking paper and cook for another 5 -10 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
While the pastry shells are cooling slightly make the frangipane filling.

For the Frangipane

140g butter softened
160g caster sugar
200 g almond meal
2 eggs
½ cup flaked almonds

Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until just combined, add the ground almonds and eggs and mix until just combined.
Turn the oven down to 170c.
Spoon approximately 3 tablespoons of the frangipane into each tart shell and top with thinly sliced quince, sprinkle with flaked almonds.
Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until the frangipane is set in the center.
While these are baking you can reduce the quince poaching syrup until it is thick and fragrant.

Serve the cooled tarts with mascarpone and a little of the quince syrup.