Poached Quince Galette

Some hunt for the elusive pair of shoes; come the colder months I keep my eyes peeled for quince.

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Besides the rarity (which we all know significantly increases attractiveness–sort of a “playing hard to get” theory), quince have a good backstory. The Romans would stuff them into jars and pour over honey, where their tannic, acrid fruit would soften over time, producing both a candied fruit and a fragrant syrup.  I’ve even read that they may have been the fruit that got Adam and Eve cast out of the garden of Eden (though since you can’t eat quince raw, that story may be, perhaps, apocryphal.  Straight off the tree, in fact, I doubt it would have been all that tempting). Quince are also, surprisingly, the fruit that originated the marmalade (the Portuguese name for the fruit is marmelo) and you may have seen it at the cheese counter in the form of membrillo, which pairs perfectly with manchego. (Yes, this may be ringing a bell: I blogged about making membrillo two years ago. I’ll spare you my reminiscing about Spain right now, which membrillo always induces).

Nonetheless, perhaps the extra work to prepare quince today, vis-a-vis other fruits, has made them fall out of favor, or perhaps it’s that they are not so photogenic. If you saw it in a fruit bowl, you’d probably leave it there. I showed one to my son, who guessed it was an apple or pear, which is not far off, as they are in the same family.  But I had to stop him when he tried to filch an uncooked slice and was put off the fruit for good.

Poached Quince Galette (1 of 12)

Poached Quince Galette (2 of 12)

So yes, you’ll often find that you need to poach quince before using it.  While this is a dreaded extra step, it’s quite easy:  just put in the oven for a few hours and relax while your home fills with a warm perfume.  The poached slices keep in their fragrant syrup for around two weeks in the fridge, so you can really space things out.  Prepping the quince is a bit tricky–while much like slicing apples, the seeded core of the quince is hard and must be cut out.  This, along with the slicing, must be done gently–not surgery here, but not as quick as slicing apples for pie.  The flesh is slightly grainy (only when raw) and the slices otherwise have a tendency to break on you.  Imagine a very dry apple.  Nonetheless, this is mainly an aesthetic consideration, and isn’t meant to scare you off!  The fruit is sweet, supple, and a lovely rosy hue when cooked.  It’s going to look pretty, and taste great, no matter what.

Poached Quince Galette (3 of 12)

Poached Quince Galette (7 of 12)

I simply spiraled the quince slices on a rolled out piece of pie dough, and folded the edges over to make a rustic galette.  (Galette:  the fancy sounding but much more relaxed version of pie–herehere, here, and way back here).  We brought this to a friend’s for brunch where it was happily received.  While you might have to explain again what quince is if you do the same, you’ll find that while unusual it’s readily approachable and easy to love.  Extra poached quince could be spooned over oatmeal, eaten straight, or used in other recipes–such as this Gingerbread Quince Upside-Down Cake from the lovely Apartment 2B Baking Co., which I made for New Year’s Eve.

Poached Quince Galette (9 of 12)

And on that note, Happy New Year!

Poached Quince Galette (12 of 12)

Poached Quince Galette
Ingredients
  • Poached Quince (makes extra)
  • 3/4c sugar
  • 3c water
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 vanilla bean or 1t vanilla extract
  • 4 medium quinces (1 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced.
  • Galette
  • [url href=”https://threecleversisters.com/2011/07/22/perfect-pie-crust-by-hand/”%5D1 disc of pie dough[/url]–use your favorite. (I used spelt flour mixed with all-purpose here).
  • Poached quince (from above)
  • 2T sugar
  • melted butter or half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 T sugar (preferably sanding or turbinado sugar)
Instructions
Poached Quince
  1. Preheat the oven to 300F.
  2. Put all ingredients into a baking dish and cover with foil or a lid, and bake for 1 1/2 hours until rosy and tender. Your kitchen will be warm and perfumed.
  3. Let cool and store the quince in its poaching liquid.
Galette
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Roll the pie dough into a 14-inch circle. Starting in the middle, arrange the quince slices in a spiral. When you have a rough 1 1/2 to 2 inch border, fold this over. (It’s going to overlap here and there and double over itself–that’s fine).
  3. Brush the crust with melted butter, cream, or half-and-half and sprinkle with sugar.
  4. Bake on the bottom of the oven for 45-50 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

 

Gooseberry Tart

For me, gooseberries are one of those quintessentially British fruits, like damson plums or sloes, that I nonetheless never managed to try while I lived in London.Gooseberry Tart

To rectify this, I’ve been on the lookout for them  for the past several years, only to be disappointed.  But this year’s fruit crop in Massachusetts is proving to be amazing–tons of sour cherries have now given way to red, black, and even golden raspberries, along with red and black currants and yes, gooseberries.

Gooseberry Tart

The price, unfortunately, reflects the fact that these gooseberries are so hard to come by.  So even though I splurged on two generously filled half pints at the farmer’s market, I came home to find I didn’t even have the four to five cups required for a pie.  Fortunately, I had enough for pie’s rustic French cousin, a galette.

Gooseberry Tart

While you thankfully don’t have to chop gooseberries (which must be as tedious as cutting up grapes or cherry tomatoes for toddlers) they do require a bit of prep work–they need to be topped and tailed, which is really just removing the stem from one end and the blossom from the other.  It’s easy enough to do, but given how these tiny bits tend to stick to your fingers, and then rub off on the next gooseberry you reach for, you’ll want to wash your berries after this process.  Once done, the gooseberries look much like grapes, albeit rather veiny ones.

Then it’s just a matter of assembly.  It’s easy to find helpers who will enjoy sprinkling the cinnamon sugar over the berries and the crust.

Gooseberry Tart

Gooseberries are surprisingly tart, and are said to taste a bit like strawberries–which is true, but not something I would have noticed had I not already been aware of the comparison.  They cook down into a juicy filling, and have a surprising richness–making it easy to see why gooseberries complement savory dishes so nicely.  For dessert, however, a tart yogurt ice cream or dollop of creme fraiche would nicely accompany this galette, with the fruit’s juices swirling together with the melting cream.

Gooseberry Tart

Gooseberry Tart
Author: Adapted from Lindsey Shere, via [url href=”http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/gooseberry-tart”%5DFood and Wine[/url]
Ingredients
  • Pastry
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 -inch dice
  • About 3 tablespoons ice water
  • Filling
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 pint gooseberries (about 3 cups), stems and tails removed
Instructions
Make the crust.
  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and sugar. Using a pastry blender (or two knives or forks) or your fingers, cut or rub in the butter until the mixture resembles a mix of coarse cornmeal with larger particles the size of peas. (I.e. you’ll still have a fair amount of larger chunks of butter). Stir in the ice water with a fork. When the dough holds together, knead it a few times against the side of the bowl to smooth it out. (If the dough doesn’t hold together, add a few more drops of ice water.) Pat the dough into a disk, and wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400F. Flour a surface and roll out the dough into a round about 14 inches in diameter. (You may have to wait a few moments for the dough to soften). It need not be perfect around the edges as this gives it its rustic look. Lay it on a large baking sheet or pizza pan lined with parchment paper and refrigerate briefly while you prepare the filling (but no longer as the crust will get to hard to fold over the filling later).
Make the filling and assemble the tart
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Mix 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon-sugar with the flour and sprinkle this mixture over a 9-inch area of the pastry. Spread the prepared gooseberries on top. (I rolled out the dough before prepping the gooseberries; the dough chilled while I topped and tailed the berries). Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cinnamon-sugar and sprinkle the remainder over the gooseberries. Fold the edges of the pastry up over the berries to form a 9-inch free-form tart, making pleats and pressing them together lightly. Brush the pastry with water and sprinkle with the reserved cinnamon-sugar.
  2. Bake the tart in the center of the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the gooseberries are bubbling and lightly browned and the pastry has caramelized in spots and is well browned on the bottom. Cut the tart into wedges with a sharp knife and serve.

Gooseberry Tart

Butternut Squash Leek Galette

There’s some recipes I forget about for the better part of the year, but suddenly find myself coming back to wondering, “where have you been?”  And then, I can’t imagine anything more satisfying.  No surprise that I”m suddenly drawn to this warm, savory tart:  It’s inextricably married in my mind to the gentle chill that’s insinuating itself into the morning air, the burnished colors of autumn leaves, and the warmth of the indoors in the increasingly darker evenings.

Butternut Squash Leek Galette (2 of 8)

It’s a recipe I’ve been making since finding it in Gourmet several years ago (obviously–Gourmet’s demise is no longer a recent event).  I’ve even used it as a launching pad for other dishes but haven’t yet blogged it.  It’s time.

Butternut Squash Leek Galette (1 of 8)

What’s great about this recipe is that all of its component parts can be done in advance thus making it, with a bit of advance planning, a fast weeknight meal.  Or, even with no advance planning–the wait time is manageable even when you don’t start until 6pm (which is about when I am able to get going).  I made the dough and let it chill while I roasted the squash and sautéed the leeks.  (You could do any, or all, of these steps a day or two before).  The vegetables were removed from heat and allowed to cool just enough, after which I crumbled in a log of goat cheese with the tines of my fork.   The pastry dough was removed from the fridge, rolled out and filled.

Butternut-Leek-Galette

Edges folded over casually rather than fussily, and the pie was slid into the already warm oven.  I was enjoying a flaky, savory-sweet slice (followed by another) just an hour later.

Butternut-Squash-Leek-Galette-2

Butternut Squash Leek Galette

Ingredients
  • For pastry:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons ice-cold water
  • Cream or half-and-half
  • For filling
  • 1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2- by 1/4-inch slices (4 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced crosswise
  • 6 ounces soft mild goat cheese, crumbled
Instructions
Make dough:
  1. Pulse flour, butter, sage, and sea salt in a food processor until the butter is incorporated and the mixture resembles cornmeal. With the motor running, drizzle in ice water and pulse until it just forms a ball. (The motor’s sound will change as this happens. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.) Gently press dough into a disk and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.
Make filling while dough chills:
  1. Preheat oven to 500°F with rack in middle.
  2. Toss squash with sea salt and 1 Tbsp oil and arrange in 1 layer in a 17-by 12-inch shallow baking pan. Roast, stirring once halfway through roasting, until golden brown on edges and undersides, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove squash from oven and reduce oven temperature to 375°F.
  3. Meanwhile, wash leeks, then cook in the 2 tablespoons of butter and a pinch of salt over medium heat, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (Try not to let the leeks brown, you just want them to soften). Transfer to a large bowl to cool slightly.
  4. Add squash, goat cheese, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and toss gently.
Make galette:
  1. Lightly flour a surface and place the dough on top. Flip the dough over (so that both sides have a light dusting of flour) and roll out into a 13-inch round. Some ragged edges are fine. Transfer to a baking sheet (you can use the edge of the baking sheet to gently de-stick any dough from the surface and then slide it on.
  2. Arrange filling in an even layer in center of dough, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border. Fold dough in on itself to cover outer rim of filling, pleating dough as necessary.
  3. Brush pastry with cream (I just pour the cream into a shallow dish and dip my fingers in, then “fingerpaint”).
  4. Bake galette until crust is cooked through and golden on edges, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool on baking sheet on a rack 10 minutes before serving.
Notes

While [url href=”https://threecleversisters.com/2011/07/22/perfect-pie-crust-by-hand/”%5DI like making my crust by hand[/url], in this case I took the easy way out–in part because I figured the blades of the food processor would finely distribute flecks of sage throughout the dough more uniformly than if I tried to chop the herbs myself. Dried sage, on the other hand, being so fragile as it is, probably would crumble quickly and distribute itself easily, even by hand.

The dough can be chilled up to 1 day. The filling can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.