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Quince, rooibos and coriander seed tarts

With an ingredient list like this, it could only be the work of one pastry chef: the inimitable Yu-Ching Lee.

By Yu-Ching Lee
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 5 hrs cooking plus cooling
  • Serves 8
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"By all means increase the quantity of quince you make for this recipe," says Lee. "The reward for all that time and labour will be wonderful perfumed, ruby-red quinces to enjoy for the rest of the season, over coconut yoghurt or porridge for breakfast, or in muffins and cakes."


  • 445 gm sour cream shortcrust pastry (see note)
  • 1 egg, beaten, for eggwash
  • Pure icing sugar (optional), for dusting
Poached quince
  • 2 small quince
  • 375 gm caster sugar
  • 1 rooibos tea bag
  • ½ lemon
Rooibos custard
  • 225 ml pouring cream
  • 1 rooibos tea bag
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds, dry-roasted and cracked with a mortar and pestle
  • 4 (75gm) egg yolks
  • 30 gm caster sugar


  • 1
    For poached quince, peel quince (reserve peel), trim ends and cut in half lengthways. Place the quince, peel and trimmings in a single layer in a saucepan, add sugar, tea and 750ml water. Squeeze lemon juice into pan and add lemon half to pan. Bring to the boil, remove tea bag, then cover quince directly with a round of baking paper. Reduce heat to low and cook very gently, topping up with water when necessary to keep fruit covered, until quince turns a deep ruby colour (4-5 hours). Cool to room temperature, then trim cores (discard) from 3 quince halves and thinly slice. Reserve remaining quince for another use (such as breakfast).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C. Cut out rounds from pastry using a 12cm cutter and line eight 8cm loose-based tart tins. Refrigerate until firm (30 minutes), then trim excess pastry. Blind-bake pastry shells until light golden brown and set at top edge (15 minutes). Remove paper and weights, and bake until golden and cooked through (5-10 minutes). Press and flatten any pastry that has puffed with a tea towel. Brush with eggwash to seal, then bake until set (1-2 minutes).
  • 3
    For rooibos custard, bring cream, tea and coriander seeds to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside to infuse (30 minutes), then warm through over low heat. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl to combine, then add warm cream mixture, whisking gently to combine. Strain into a jug and stand for 5 minutes to settle. Skim any froth from the surface of the custard before using.
  • 4
    Preheat oven to 130°C and warm pastry shells (1-2 minutes). Divide quince slices between shells, top each with custard and bake until custard is just set with a slight wobble in the middle (15-20 minutes). Cool, and serve dusted with icing sugar, with some reduced quince poaching syrup. Tarts are best eaten slightly warm or on the same day.


Carême Sour Cream Shortcrust pastry is available in supermarkets.

  • Author: Yu-Ching Lee