quinces + apples = quince apple tart (with cardamom)

Rock-hard and not easy to peel or work with. Nevertheless, I buy quinces whenever I see them at the market. They are super seasonal and have a beautiful floral aroma and flavor. They are lovely in combination with other fruits, such as apples, pears and lemons, and with spices, such as cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise (click here for my quince-apple crumble with star anise).

Last week, when my parents were having dinner at our place, my daughters and I made this tart with a quince-cardamom compote and apples for dessert. An instant hit! My mom really dislikes too much sugar in desserts, so this fruity and not too sweet tart, was perfect. Together with the vanilla cream it’s a real treat. For those who never had quinces before…you cannot eat them raw. Use a sharp sturdy knife to peel them and be careful!

Note: This recipe is based on my daughters’ classic French Apple Tart with apple compote instead of quince compote. If you cannot get hold of quinces, this is a perfect alternative: click here for the recipe.


Serves 8
Action time: 40 minutes + 30 minutes resting and 30 minutes baking

For the pastry
– 250 g (9 oz) spelt flour
– 50 g (1.7 oz) fine cane sugar
– 125 g (4.5 oz) cold butter, diced
– 1 egg yolk
– 1-2 tbsp ice cold water

For the compote:
– 4 large quinces
– a knob of butter
– 75 g (2.5 oz) sugar + 1 tbsp for cooking
– 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
– zest of 1/2 lemon
– 2-3 tsp lemon juice
– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping:
– 2-3 apples for apple pie
– a large knob of cold butter
– 2 tbsp apricot jam

For the vanilla cream:
– 125 g (4.5 oz) sour cream or crème fraîche
– 1/2 vanilla pod, split open and seeds scraped out
– icing sugar, to taste

Extra: food processor, cling film, greased tart pan (28 cm/11 inch) with removable bottom, parchment paper, pie weights or dried beans, pastry brush

1. For the pastry, put flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (or use a food processor). Add the egg yolk and 1-2 tbsp cold water and knead briefly until the dough comes together. Gather the ball into a thick ‘sausage’, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

2. For the compote, quarter the quinces. Peel and core the quinces and cut them into pieces. Place the pieces in a saucepan with 1 tbsp sugar and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let the quince pieces cook for about 20 minutes until they are really soft. Strain the quinces. In a food processor, puree the hot quinces and mix in butter, sugar cardamom, lemon zest and lemon juice.

3. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Cut the dough sausage into 3-4 mm (1/8 inch) thick slices. Place the slices in and around the bottom and sides of the tart pan; push and press them together with your fingers until the whole pan is covered. Line the pastry with parchment paper and fill with the pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 10 minutes in the oven, remove the parchment paper and pie weights and bake for 5 minutes more. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

4. Meanwhile peel the apples for the topping. Cut them into wedges and cut out the cores. Slice the wedges thinly. Distribute the quince compote evenly in to the tart shell. Lay the apple slices slightly overlapping and in circles upon the compote. Cut the butter in very small cubes and dot it all over the tart.

5. Bake the tart for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Cover the crust with a strip of aluminium foil if the crust gets brown too fast.

6. Remove from the oven and let cool a little on a wire rack. In a small saucepan heat the apricot jam until it becomes runny. Brush the apple slices gently with the jam.

7. In a bowl, mix the cream with the vanilla seeds. Add some icing sugar to taste. Serve the tart lukewarm or cold with the vanilla cream.

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