When it comes to fruit, I rarely pick the pear as my first, second, third, or even tenth choice. I don’t know why, but they are just not high on my list of fruit. Pears are really good, don’t get me wrong, but there are so many other fruits that trump the pear (in my book anyway)….especially right now with apples falling off almost every tree you pass. Having said this, I recently found myself with a bag full of pears from a neighbor’s pear tree so I was in a situation where pears suddenly moved to the #1 spot on my list. This was fortuituous because pears don’t get nearly enough play in my house. And so I went to my stand by cookbooks and websites and found Pear Tarte Tatin. What a fun idea – make a pie-like dessert (NOTE: this is not a pie but pie-like….for those of you who know me you know I don’t make pies) and then flip it upside down. I was all in.
As an aside, I learned that a tatin is an upside-down pasty in which the fruit is caramelized in butter and sugar before the tarte is baked. It is gooey and yummy and great for this time of year. I would even suggest this as a Thanksgiving dessert to go along with your pumpkin pie!
Enjoy and happy Fall season!
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 firm, slightly under ripe pears, peeled, cored, and rubbed with lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
9 oz. frozen pastry puff, defrosted and brought to room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Put sugar, vanilla, and 1/2 cup water into an 8 inch ovenproof, heavy bottom fry pan and bring to a boil. Simmer this syrup until it thickens to become a deep brown caramel (when making caramel, do not be tempted to stir the sugar, as it will impact the process of making the caramel).
Cut each pear into 6 wedges. Put pears in the caramel and gently toss until coated. Stir in butter and continue to reduce until you have a thick, buttery, caramel sauce. Carefully take off the heat and sprinkle on the ginger and walnuts.
Next, roll out the puff pastry until it’s the thickness of a 1/2 dollar and cut into a circle that it is about the size of your fry pan. You will want to tuck the edges down into the pan so leave a little extra. Mix the egg with the milk, then lay the pastry on top of the pears and tuck in around the edges. Brush the top of the pastry with the milk/egg mixture. Put the pan in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until the puff pastry is nicely browned on top.
Once the pear tarte is cooked, now comes the super fun part – you have to flip it upside down for it to be a tatin! To do this flipping, place a plate on top of your fry pan and using an oven mitt (or maybe two), flip the pan upside down and give it a little jiggle. With any luck, the pear tarte will fall out onto the plate. Voila, pear tarte tatin! Way to go. If it doesn’t slide out easily, get creative and ask others in the house to help. They will all want to be a part of this success.
Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy the fall and make pears a top choice. They are really good.