Quince are an odd fruit: they look a bit like an overgrown lemon, smell a bit like a banana, and, when cooked, taste like a tart apple-pear hybrid. What's not to love?
I first tried quince in DC; they were included in an apple pie. I loved the combination, but wanted to use quince as a featured ingredient in a dish, to give myself a better sense of the fruit's own unique flavor profile.
For one 10" tart, you'll need:
+ 1 10" round of pâte feuilleteé
+ 3-5 quinces (look for firm fruits and bright yellow skin)
+ butter, 4 tablespoons
+ sugar, 2/3 cup
+ salt, pinch
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel, core, and slice the quince. You should end up with about 4 cups, or enough for a single layer of fruit in a 10" skillet. Melt the butter in a cast-iron skillet*, add the quince and salt, and saute over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Remove fruit from pan.
Turn the heat down to medium-low, and add the sugar. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture constantly until the sugar melts and a caramel forms. Remove from heat.
Gently and carefully arrange the quince slices in a single layer in the skillet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, top with the puff pastry, and bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven; cool for at least 10 minutes.
Invert onto a platter. Use tongs or other utensils to move any quince slices which stuck to the pan to their proper place. If the fruits look a bit "too dark," fear not: they're simply deeply caramelized and sweet. Traditional, apple-based tart tatins are served with a dollop of crème fraîche-- however, this isn't exactly a "traditional" dish, is it?
* You can certainly use any skillet with an oven-safe handle, but a cast iron pan will impart more flavor and color to the dish.