If you're looking for an impressive vegan dessert for the holidays, look no further than this Vegan Quince Tarte Tatin. This French classic is usually made with apples, but we've swapped in delicious quince for a wintery twist.
The result is a dessert that's sweet, tart, and decadent all at once. Best of all, it's easy to make - even if you're not a master pastry chef! So why not give it a try? Your guests will be wowed by your culinary prowess!
Welcome, fall! I've got the perfect dessert for you—a vegan quince Tarte tatin. Quince is a slightly sour and entirely delicious fruit that pairs perfectly with spices like cinnamon. This dessert is simple to make and impresses your guests with its fancy presentation.
This vegan quince Tarte tatin will be my holiday dessert this year, as long as I can find quinces at the grocery store.
A classic tarte tatin is usually made with apples, but I'm going to use quinces because they are in season now and make for a great autumn dessert. This recipe is adapted from Epicurious.
What is quince?
Don’t let the word quince scare you away from this delectable tart treat! A quince, also known as Cydonia oblonga, is similar to a pear in flavor, with a hint of apple, but it’s naturally sweet on its own once it has been cooked!
It’s hard to find quince at most grocery stores, so ask your local grocer if they have any in stock. If they don’t, you can always ask them to keep an eye out for one and restock it when it comes in!
Quince is a fruit that is usually used to make jams and pies. It is in season during autumn, just as the leaves start to change color, and they make for a perfect holiday dessert.
The flesh of quinces is very hard, ensuring the fruit stores well. It is a fruit that needs to be cooked before eating; otherwise, it is tough and astringent. However, once cooked, it is a delight to eat! And once cooked, the color changes to a lovely rose pink.
When are quinces in season?
In the Northern hemisphere, quinces are in season in October, November, and December. In the Southern hemisphere, they are in season in March, April, and May.
Here are the ingredients you need to make this delicious and simple dessert!
For the filling
- Quinces - I used two large quinces, which weighed approximately 1.5 pounds. They should be fresh and will be yellow on the inside. If you see brown streaks, they are past their prime.
- Lemon juice to keep the quinces from oxidizing.
- Pure cane sugar - the amount of sugar used is essential for the caramel and the caramelization of the quinces and pastry. If you reduce the amount of sugar this will affect the dessert (less sweet, more sour, and less caramelization).
- Vegan butter - You need vegan butter at room temperature so it will melt quickly to make the caramel.
For the dough
We loved how flaky and crispy the crust turned out. Here are the ingredients which are not pictured above:
- Vegan butter - this needs to be chilled for making the pastry dough. I have used Country Crock dairy-free olive oil sticks and Earth Balance buttery sticks with great results.
- All-purpose flour - this is also known as plain flour with a protein level of 10 to 12 percent and is great to use in baked goods such as this recipe. I always choose organic flour which is typically found at the grocery store, like this one.
- Sea salt - to bring out the flavor! Don't skimp on the salt. A good bit of saltiness goes wonderfully with the caramelized quince and bits of caramelized crust. Is your mouth watering yet?
- Pure cane sugar - I choose organic vegan sugar made without bone char. Since this recipe is a tarte tatin and the dough is put on top of the filling, sugar is added for a touch of sweetness and helps with browning.
- Iced water - to bring the dough together. The colder the ingredients are, the better.
- Vodka - I keep it in the fridge for when I make pastry dough; I learned this tip from Cook's Illustrated. I add vodka because the ethanol reduces gluten development and makes the dough easier to roll out. I like to use vodka in my pie dough as well to prevent toughness in the dough. I've struggled with pastry dough in the past and found the addition of vodka to be a game-changer! There is no taste of vodka in the dough whatsoever. If you want to try it, you can buy a small travel-size of vodka at the store. Otherwise, you can use iced water in its place.
- Apple cider vinegar - to help stabilize the pastry. It helps the dough from oxidizing and turning grey if you make the dough ahead of time. If you're using it right away, that won't be an issue.
See the recipe card for the exact quantities.
How to make vegan quince tarte tatin
This vegan quince tart tatin is an easy recipe! Here are the steps:
- Make the dough and chill it for at least 1 ½ hours.
- Prepare the quinces
- Make the caramel, then chill it for 30 minutes.
- Assemble the unbaked tarte tatin by layering the quince slices on top of the caramel, then layer the pastry dough on top and bake in a baking dish. Then let cool, and invert the tarte tatin.
Make the dough
You can make the dough in a food processor if you wish; however, I'm doing it by hand in this recipe.
Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal.
Mix the vodka, ice water, and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. Add a tablespoon at a time to the flour mixture, tossing and mixing with a spatula or wooden spoon between each addition until the dough comes together when you pinch it.
Gather the dough and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Flatten into a 4 to 6-inch disk. Refrigerate for at least 90 minutes.
Let the dough warm up slightly before rolling it out, approximately 10 minutes. Then, keep it in the fridge until you need it.
Prepare the quinces
Prepare the quinces - peel and core them, then slice them into ¾ to 1-inch thick slices. Combine quinces with fresh lemon juice to keep them from oxidizing and turning brown.
Make the caramel
Combine sliced quinces in a large mixing bowl with lemon juice. Place ice cubes in a layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
Combine sugar, water, and agave syrup in a cast iron skillet or tarte tatin pan on medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Boil gently until the sugar mixture is golden, with large bubbles forming (much larger than pictured), about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and brushing the sides of the pan with the spatula.
Hint: Take your time when making the caramel to avoid burning it. Check it with a spoon and rest it on a white plate or spoon rest to check the color.
Remove skillet from heat; stir in vegan butter and cinnamon. Place the skillet on top of the ice on a large-rimmed baking sheet for 30 minutes until the caramel hardens. Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 400°F.
Remove the skillet from the ice. Layer the quince slices in concentric circles on top of the cold caramel in the skillet. Fill the center with any small or broken quince pieces.
Assemble the tarte tatin
Roll out the dough between 2 layers of parchment paper to a 10 to 12–inch round, approximately ⅛-inch thick. Or, roll the dough on a lightly floured work surface, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. If the pastry is softening, put it in the fridge for several minutes.
Place the dough on top of the quinces and slowly peel away the parchment paper to prevent tearing—Tuck in the edges of the pastry on top and around the sides of the quinces.
Tip: If tearing occurs with the dough, lightly wet the cracked edges and push them together quickly with your fingers.
Bake the tarte tatin
Place the skillet on the rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crust is deep golden brown, about 1 hour. There will be bubbling at the edges.
Remove from oven; let cool for 30 minutes before flipping. Place a serving platter or serving plate on top of the skillet. Wearing oven mitts, hold the plate and skillet firmly together and turn over. Let the tart slide out onto the platter or serving plate.
If any quinces stick to the skillet or fall apart during the transfer, rearrange them on the tart. The beauty of this dessert is that it doesn't have to look perfect.
Enjoy! This tarte tatin is fantastic served on the same day, slightly warm after baking. It's delicious the next day at room temperature and maintains its caramelized, crisp crust.
- Quince - instead of quince, you can use other fall fruit such as apples or pears. Or use a combination of apples and quince. Choose apples that hold their shapes, such as Braeburn, Granny Smith, or a variety of firm apples. If you use apples, the resulting mixture may be more watery since quince tends to be drier. I'd be tempted to bake this dish on the lowest rack in the oven in a cast iron skillet. Let me know how it turns out!
- Agave syrup - use maple syrup instead, or another liquid sweetener of your choice.
- Apple pie spice - you can omit it or use cinnamon instead.
- Apple cider vinegar - you can use fresh lemon juice, or omit it.
Here are some variations of this quince dessert you can try:
- Dough - In a hurry? Use a sheet of puff pastry instead of making the pastry dough. Most brands are accidentally vegan, such as Pepperidge Farm or Aussie Bakery. You can find this in the freezer by the pie crusts; thaw the according to package directions and roll it out to fit the baking dish. You can also use phyllo dough; brush it with melted butter in between layers for a light crispy crust.
- Deluxe - top with vegan vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped coconut cream.
- Boozy - add Calvados.
- Flavoring - add vanilla extract, vanilla bean, or use vanilla sugar with vanilla seeds.
- Gluten-free - I haven't tried to make this gluten-free, but I don't see why a 1:1 mix formulated for pastry wouldn't work. If you use Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free Pie Crust Mix, don't add sugar since it already has it as an ingredient. I would still add the salt, however, because the pastry crust for this recipe benefits from this addition.
- Pastry blender
- Spatula or wooden spoon
- Large-rimmed baking sheet
- Mixing bowls
- Rolling pin
- parchment paper
- 10 ¼-inch cast iron pan, ovenproof skillet, or tarte tatin pan like this one with handles from Le Creuset. The Lodge cast iron pan retains heat very well, allowing for that delicious caramelization and crisp crust! I lightly brush a thin coat of shortening on it after it's washed and dried to keep it seasoned.
This quince tarte tatin doesn't stand up well to freezing and is best enjoyed warm or at room temperature, within two days. You can store it at room temperature, covered tightly, or refrigerate it in an airtight container.
Make sure your ingredients are cold when making the dough.
Observe the caramel carefully to prevent it from burning. Don't step away from the range, as I did! I started making this recipe in a cast iron pan and burned my caramel. Luckily I had an alternative, my enamel cast iron tarte tatin pan!
A tart has a crust on the bottom, is filled with fruit or custard, and is usually baked. A tarte tatin has a crust on top, and is flipped after it is baked.
In French, it means an upside-down caramelized apple tart. The crust is on top, and then the dessert is inverted before serving.
In my experience, a regular-size cast iron pan (9 to 10 ½-inch) is the best because it retains heat the best, allowing for wonderful caramelization and a crisp pastry crust.
You can refrigerate the pastry dough for up to 3 days or freeze it immediately after you make it. Let it thaw in the fridge the night before and let it sit on the counter briefly before you roll it out. You can make the tarte tatin the day before you serve it, but it's best enjoyed the same day it's made.
If you're looking for a vegan dessert this holiday season, I hope this quince tarte tatin recipe inspires you to try it! It's easy to make and will surely be loved by vegans and non-vegans alike.
I hope you enjoy this vegan quince tarte tatin recipe as much as we did! If you make this recipe, please take a moment to ★★★★★ star-rate it and leave a comment below. Also, follow me on Instagram and Facebook, and share your creation with me! Tag me @resplendentkitchen and hashtag #resplendentkitchenrecipes.
Vegan Quince Tarte Tatin
- Pastry cutter
- Large rimmed baking sheet
- mixing bowls
- rolling pin
- 10 ½-inch cast iron pan or tarte tatin pan or ovenproof skillet
For the dough
For the filling
- 2 large quinces peeled, each cut into ¾–inch slices, cored, approximately 1 ½ to 1 ¾ pounds
- ¼ cup lemon juice, fresh from 1 lemon
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup or maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter
- ½ teaspoon apple pie spice or cinnamon, optional
Make the dough
- Combine flour, cane sugar, and sea salt in a large bowl.
- Using a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal.
- Mix vodka, water, and apple cider vinegar in small bowl. Drizzle in the liquid mixture a tablespoon at a time into the flour mixture, tossing and mixing with a spatula or wooden spoon between each addition. Stop adding water when the dough comes together and almost no more dry flour remains in the bottom of the bowl.
- Gather the dough and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Flatten into a 4 to 6-inch disk. Refrigerate for at least 90 minutes.
- Let the dough warm up slightly before rolling it out, approximately 10 minutes.
Make the filling
- Combine sliced quinces in a large mixing bowl with lemon juice. Place ice cubes in a layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
- Combine sugar, water, and agave syrup in a cast iron skillet or tarte tatin pan on medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves.
- Boil gently until sugar mixture is a golden color, about 10 minutes. Watch carefully. Remove skillet from heat; stir in vegan butter and cinnamon.
- Place the skillet on top of ice in large rimmed baking sheet for 30 minutes until caramel hardens. Remove skillet from ice. Position a rack in center of oven; preheat to 400°F.
- Layer quince slices in circles on top of the cold caramel in the skillet. Fill center with any small or broken quince pieces.
- Flour dough lightly on both sides. Roll out dough between 2 layers of parchment paper to a 10 to 12–inch round, approximately ⅛-inch thick.
- Place parchment paper dough side down on top of quinces and slowly peel away the parchment paper. Tuck in the dough on top and around sides of quinces.
- Place skillet on the rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crust is deep golden brown, about 1 hour. Remove from oven; let cool 30 minutes before flipping.
- Place a platter or serving plate on top of the skillet. Wearing oven mitts, hold the plate and skillet firmly together and turn over. Let the tart slide out onto the serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature,
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