Sunday, September 19, 2021

Early Fall Fruitfulness in a Tart

Years and years ago when our son was pre-kindergarten age, he and his friends would roam the hill having fun in simple ways. We had an old telephone van that was beyond repair and became a favorite play area. It was at different times a fort, spaceship, racing car...and site for what Max called 'a feast'. The feast was usually held about this time of year when there were plenty of things they could collect to eat together. One time he showed me a serving: a large grapevine leaf held a half dozen or so ripe blackberries, a couple of walnuts that had been smashed enough with a rock that you could pry out the nut meat, and an apple from the Gravenstein apple tree. A nice snack from the land.

I was thinking about that when I dreamed up today's tart. I had collected a few ripe quince and a large handful of blackberries. I already had some of those early apples in a basket and a round of pastry dough ready. It took a little while, but soon I had the peeled, cored and sliced quince poaching, the dough into a tart pan, lined with parchment and filled with pie weights ready to pre-bake for 10 minutes or so, and the apples peeled and cored and sliced, ready to add to the tart.

Usually I make a frangipane filling with almond meal, but this time I wanted to use walnuts, just like those feasts of long ago. I took half the sugar needed for the frangipane and added it to the walnut pieces in the food processor...yes, you do need a food processor to make this recipe as written, but it will still taste great if you substitute already ground almond meal. A quick run in the food processor, followed by pulsing until it was all finely ground but not paste, and the walnut meal was ready to be added to the frangipane, along with some warm spices like allspice and cloves.

The fun part, aside from eating it, is placing the fruit in a nice pattern. I put drained poached quince slices on the outer edges, then apple slices, then blackberries in the middle and in a few places within the apple slices that had space.

This made a delicious tart, full of the fruits of the land in September here in Northern California. If I were to make it again, I'd add a row of blackberries all around the outer edge of the tart...but I should have remembered that Max loved his blackberries from the time he was a toddler. Their sweet/tart juiciness added a lot to the sweet quince and apples.

Early Fall Fruit Frangipane of Walnuts Tart

makes one 9-inch tart

1 medium quince, peeled, cored, and cut into slices
2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1-inch square (roughly) piece of orange zest/peel with no white pith

dough for 1-crust pie crust
parchment circle and pie weights

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
2 large eggs
1 cup walnut pieces
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
dash ground cloves

1 medium apple (preferably Gravenstein, but any cooking apple OK), peeled, cored, and cut into slices

1/4 cup ripe fresh blackberries

Put the sugar (1/4 cup) in a small saucepan with the water and piece of orange zest. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the prepared quince, stir, return to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook, stirring now and then, for 1 hour. Remove from heat, uncover, and let cool. When cool, drain the fruit over a large bowl or measuring cup. Reserve the liquid for another use (it's great for flavoring iced tea, for instance). Set aside the fruit. If any of the fruit is left over after making the tart, it makes a great addition to muffins, pancakes or waffles. You can poach a larger amount of fruit to make sure you have some for that if you like.

About a half hour before the quince are done, put the rolled out pie dough into the tart pan with removable bottom. fold extra dough down into inside of pan to make a double wall. Press dough into ridges of pan. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes. When frozen for that amount of time, line with parchment and fill parchment with pie weights. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Remove pie weights and parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and the rest of the sugar (1/3 cup) along with the salt and orange extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 

In a food processor, add the final 1/3 cup sugar and the walnuts. Process for 30 seconds, then pulse until the mixture is light and has only very small pieces of walnut...meal size. Add the allspice and cloves and pulse a couple of times to mix the spices in. Add the walnut mixture to the butter mixture and beat until just combined. Pour mixture into the prepared tart shell and spread to even top.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the prepared fruit, including the apple slices, blackberries, and poached quince slices, in a nice pattern by pushing the fruit into the walnut mixture.

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown and middle looks set. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack before removing sides. Serve warm or cool. 

No comments :

Post a Comment