Make & Do: Quince Tart Recipe


Tucked away discreetly in a little mews off Columbia Road in London (famous for it’s Sunday flower market) is the utterly cool café come bake house Lily Vanilli, attracting a hipster crowd with Lily’s sculptural sweet cakes and creative yummies. Her cherry bakewell is in our opinion London’s best.

Lily Jones, the lady behind Lily Vanilli recently released her book ‘Sweet Tooth’ so now we can roll up our sleeves and re-invent her creations at home.

Lily Vanilli have kindly handed over the recipe to their Quince Tart with Star Anise and Wholegrain Spelt Pastry. If it tastes as good as it looks in the picture we think we’re on to a winner. Here’s the recipe…


“Quinces are one of my favourite fruits, lumpy and hard, awkward to work with, covered with fuzz and totally inedible when raw. But when cooked they soften up, turn a rosy hue and smell and taste like tropical, floral pears. They can be just as delicious served simply in their own syrup as in a tart: try them warm, with ice cream or natural yogurt. They will keep in their juice for up to a week in the fridge.”

Prep time: 50 minutes, plus chilling time

Cooking time: 1 1/2 hours

Serves: 8

  • 34 ounces water
  • 4 large quinces
  • peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 8 ounces light brown sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 5 or 6 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 batch of Sweet Shortcrust
  • Pastry, using wholegrain spelt flour instead of plain

For the glaze

  • Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp clear honey
  • 17 ounces of the poaching syrup plus the star anise
  • One 9 inch round tart tin, 1 inch deep

1. Put the water into a heavy-bottomed pan and set it on the stove. Add the quinces, lemon and orange slices, sugar and spices and turn the heat to medium. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then cover and leave to simmer in the syrup, stirring occasionally, until the quinces are cooked through but still firm | you can test for doneness with a fork | depending on their ripeness and how thick the slices are they may take anything from 40 minutes to 1 hour. Make sure you check on them from time to time. When they are done, drain and reserve the poaching liquid.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°

3. Make the glaze. Put the lemon zest and juice, the honey, the strained poaching liquid and star anise into a separate pan and reduce over a high heat for 10–15 minutes, until slightly thickened and starting to brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.

4. Roll out the pastry to 1/4 inch thick, place in your prepared tart tin and refrigerate for around 30 minutes. Line, weigh down with baking beans and blind bake on a baking tray for 15 minutes. Remove the beans, prick the base with a fork and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until browning and starting to crisp. Brush the pastry with a thin layer of the glaze and return to the oven for 2 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

5. Drain the cooled quince quarters, slice each one into four, and assemble the slices however you like in the baked tart case. Pour the remaining glaze over the top, and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Tips on selecting quinces: Choose quinces that are firm, with a pale yellow skin. Don’t be put off if they are mottled with brown spots, as this won’t affect their flavour or quality, and don’t worry about the fuzz, as it can be easily washed away under the tap with your hands. Quinces that are shriveled, soft, or brown all over are no longer fresh. Handle them carefully.