"No Indy today, but lets play Vivaldi. And cook quinces."
Despite that excellent assurance of immediate quince-cookery that I received as a text message on Tuesday morning, hours passed with no sign of the quinces being removed from the position in the fruit bowl they had maintained for a month.
I rehearsed my speech on my way home from orchestra rehearsal. "I know we both have a lot to do tonight, but it has been a very long day, and I think we need a break. Let's just abandon our responsibilities and stay up late making a tarte tatin."
But lucky me! My speech was not needed. As I awkwardly stumbled through the door with my cello on my back, I was overjoyed to see my mother peeling quinces in the kitchen. She's a mind reader, I'm telling you.
I jumped right in with peeling quinces and apples. They went into the skillet with butter and sugar. After everything was nicely caramelized, the skillet went into the oven to cook the fruit some more. My mom had made the pastry dough while I was at rehearsal, so it was soon rolled out and tucked over the cooked apples and quinces. When the entire thing came out of the oven, it was flipped over to reveal the brown caramelized fruit.
By this time Marten was home. He happily ate some pasta with chicken and even downed some delicious brussel sprouts without any complaints. He looked a little dubious about the beets with dill and balsamic vinegar, but he tried them anyways. When we offered him a slice of quince tarte tatin, though, he couldn't take it anymore.
"Now you're just making stuff up!" he exclaimed.
We explained what a quince is, referencing "The Owl and the Pussycat" for proof that quinces are indeed a real fruit. He had never heard of "The Owl and the Pussycat." It was only after a thorough search of the bookshelves to find a children's poetry book, a brief poetry reading performed standing on a chair, and a vigorous uprooting of the cutlery drawer in search of a runciple spoon that we finally sat down to eat our tarte.
Mm. This tarte is evil, but delicious. The fun part is that the quince and different types of apples cook to different textures. The outside ring of fruit is apple that cooks down until it melts in your mouth. Just inside that circle are slices of quince that hold their shape firmly even after so much cooking. And while this tarte is obviously heavenly right out of the oven, it is also addictive at any time and any temperature. I mention as a warning: it is impossible to pass this quince and apple tarte tatin on the counter without helping yourself to a slice.