Now I'm not totally sure I can still call it a Hummingbird cake if there is no pineapple. Probably not but its still delicious and this is my recipe for our annual ode to this family favourite.
I really have only just stumbled on the flavour combinations of quince, ginger and pecan but I'm so glad I have.
Quince, Pecan and Ginger frangipane tart
Makes one 22cm tart or approx. 12 tartlets (6.5cms in diameter).
Serves 8- 12 (if you have made the smaller tartlets)
Quince butter layer (note this needs to be prepped the day before making the tart):
500g quinces, cut in half but still with skin and core in. If you don’t have fresh quince you can also use approximately 200g of our sun dried Smyrna quince, the raw sugar and lemon below are then not required.
200g raw sugar
One lemon cut in half
Water to cover the quinces
Note: You can also add other spices to your taste eg start anise, cinnamon, vanilla pod. I generally don’t. This layer is an adaptation from Amy Minichiello, you can check out more from her website at www.aminikitchen.com
1 packet of Careme pastry vanilla sweet shortcrust pastry or if you want to make it yourself I use a Brisee pastry recipe from Phillippa’s ‘Home Baking’ cook book.
Pecan and Ginger frangipane layer:
125g unsalted butter
125g raw caster sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
125g All Natural Pecans ground in the food processor
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons candied ginger or if you can’t get this, I used ginger marmalade
This layer is an adaptation of Careme Pastry’s Poached Pear & Ginger Pie recipe
Quince butter: This needs to be started the day before making the tart. In a large saucepan put the halved quinces and lemon, sugar (and spices if you are adding them) and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to poach the quinces. This needs at least 3 hours until the quinces go a deep red/mauve colour. Allow the quince to cool, preferably overnight and then remove the quinces from the poaching liquid. Reserve the poaching liquid, this can be reduced and used as a sauce on pancakes or roast pork.
Take care to scoop the core of each half of each quince out (this is not pleasant to eat) and discard. Put all the remaining cooked quince in the food processor and blitz until you have a paste/butter consistency. Set aside until the rest of the pie components are finished.
Alternatively if you don’t have fresh quince or pressed for time you can use our sun dried quince and soak for 20 minutes in warm water. Then simply blitz this in the food processor until you have a paste/butter consistency. Set aside until the rest of the pie components are finished.
Pastry: Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Lightly grease and dust with flour the base of a round 22cm pie dish or in my case I prepped up 12 tartlets tins. I used ones with removable bases.
On a floured bench, dust both sides of the pastry sheet with a little flour. Cut a 24cm circle from the pastry and line the pie plate with pastry so it sits over the edge of plate, place in refrigerator to chill. I kept all the leftover pastry to make some mini pecan crumbles, the recipe is at the end.
If you are using Careme Pastry blind bake the pastry case. Firstly line the pastry case with baking paper. Cover paper with baking weights, rice or dried beans for example or a dried pulse (eg. chickpeas, fill weights to top of shell to help support the sides and weigh the base down during cooking.
Place tart tin on a baking tray in preheated oven, bake for 20 minutes. Remove tart tin from oven, check pastry is just golden before removing beans and baking paper. Return tart tin to oven and cook for a further 10 minutes or until golden. Remove tart from oven, allow to cool.
If you are handmaking your pastry follow your recipe instructions to prepare and blind bake.
Firstly make the pecan meal by blitzing the pecans in the food processor- really you can stop at whatever consistency you want the meal, I like a little bit of crunch so I did’t make it too fine.
In a stand mixer beat the butter, sugar and ground ginger together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each has been incorporated. Stir in the ground pecans, cornflour, ginger powder and ginger marmalade, mixing until combined.
Once the pastry case(s) is cool start with spooning in a layer of the quince butter evenly. Then follow with the frangipane. If you are feeling fancy you can also top the tart with some latticed pastry.
Place the tart on a baking tray in put in your preheated oven Cook for 40 minutes at 180°C (160°C fan-forced) or until pastry is golden and frangipane is cooked through (e.g. just firm to the touch when lightly pressed in the centre). If the edges of the tart look like they are browning too quickly, cover with baking paper or putting an edge of foil around the tart and continue baking until the frangipane is cooked.
Allow to cool in the tin before removing. Serve with ice cream, cream or yoghurt whatever tickles your fancy.
Bite sized Pecan crumbles
If you have leftover pastry, quince butter and/or frangipane I did go alittle over the top and make some bite sized quince and pecan crumbles. Complete decadence
Simply use a mini cupcake tray and butter/flour each cavity. Cut rounds of your leftover pastry and line the tray with pastry. Add a dollop of quince butter and frangipane. I finished off with a teaspoon of a very quick to prepare pecan crumble. Here is my recipe for this layer:
1 tbspn brown sugar
2/3 cup plain flour
100g rolled oats
1 tspn ground cinnamon
120g unsalted butter softened
80g of All Natural Pecans cut up roughly into small pieces
Mix together the brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon and pecans in a mixing bowl. Break the softened butter into pieces and add to the flour mixture. Incorporate using the tips of your fingers until mixed like course breadcrumbs. Then add a small spoonful of the crumble mix onto of the frangipane layer. Bake in the oven preheated (as above) for 20-30 minutes, until the crumble is golden brown.
If you do have any leftover quince butter and/or crumble after all this it can be stored in the fridge until you make your next dessert.
Allow the crumbles to cool slightly and take a brilliant bite- these are delicious and its hard to stop at one.