A few weeks ago, I took a short trip to Seattle and fell in love with the Emerald City all over again. I had forgotten how gorgeous fall in Seattle is with all the red, orange, and ochre foliage lining streets and city parks. The rain, fog, and its melancholy made me miss the bay area, where I grew up. I spent a lot of time meandering different parts of Seattle, from Pioneer Square, Belltown, Capitol Hill to Ballard, popping in random shops and restaurants. My favorite meal was at Lark where I indulged in oysters and ended the night with a delicious quince tarte tatin, smothered in salted caramel sauce and topped with old fashion vanilla ice cream. It was probably the best thing I ate on that trip!
The next day, I drove around Seattle for looking for quinces and totally lucked out on my way to the airport. I stopped by a gas station and spied a small market across the street. With three hours to spare, I made my way to the market. It had a nice selection of fruits and to my delight a huge bin of pineapple quinces. I probably bought about five pounds and carefully stuffed them in my carry on. Instead of taking a nap on the plane, my thoughts were occupied with how to recreate the salted caramel tarte tatin from Lark.
When I came home, I left the quinces in my kitchen and let their heavenly fragrance fill my favorite space. After a few days, I dug out an old recipe for apple tarte tatin and substituted the quince for the apple. I altered the cooking time for my tarte tatin since quinces are virtually inedible raw and required a little more cooking than apples. It’s a bit of work to make this classic French upside-down dessert but worth every bite. The quince tarte tatin that I had at Lark was paired with vanilla ice cream and I wouldn’t eat it any other way. Enjoy!
Salted Caramel Tarte Tatin
4 small quinces, peeled, cored, and halved
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup of sugar
2 tbsps of water
½ stick of unsalted butter, cubed
1 lb all butter puff pastry
All purpose flour for dusting
Vanilla ice cream for serving
One 8” flameproof tart pan or heavy-based, oven proof pan
1. In a flameproof tart pan, on low heat, add water, salt and sugar, and cook gently until sugar has dissolved.
2. Increase heat to medium and bring to boil. Cook without stirring for 7 minutes or until light golden.
3. Add the butter and stir until melted and well combined.
4. Put the quinces, cut side up, into the pan. Return to low heat and cook for 10 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
6. Using a rolling pin, roll the pastry on a floured surface. Cut a round circle slightly bigger than the pan.
7. Place the pastry circle over the quinces and fold the edges under to tuck in the apples. Use a small knife, make 3 small slits in the center of the pastry.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden.
9. Let the tarte tatin stand for 10 minutes. Use a knife to loosen the edges and carefully turn out the tarte tatin onto a serving plate.
10. Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream. The tart is best eaten on the day of baking but will keep for 1 day.