Pear Tart Tatin
A sheet of pre-made puff pastry plus a handful of just-ripe pears turns into this.
Serving Size: Serves 6 to 8
Taxi cab confession: I have never made a tart tatin. It sounded just plain scary – flipping a pan over so that the fruit ends up on top, and the crust ends up on the bottom. Why would anyone put themselves through such angst?
But there I was just minding my own business, with an influx of gorgeous pears, and a box of puff pastry in the freezer, and the urge to spit into the wind. My first pear tatin was a success. A few pears stuck to the pan, but I pulled them off and settled them back into place and no one was the wiser.
And while I would have to accomplish a few more successful tart tatins to feel as though it was no longer intimidating, I am now on my way to being able to say that these upside down tarts are part of my dessert repertoire.
You want your pears to be just ripe, but not soft. Finally, once again, I will take a moment to profess my deep abiding life for premade puff pastry.
Pear Tart Tatin
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 just-ripe but firm Anjou or Barlett pears
- All-purpose flour for rolling out the pastry
- 1 sheet (½ of a 17.3 ounce package) frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions, but still slightly chilled
- Vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. In a 10-inch heavy ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, stir together the sugar with 2 tablespoons of water. Cook over medium heat, without turning, until the mixture starts to turn golden about 6 minutes. Stir in the butter, and continue stirring occasionally until the mixture is a rich golden color. Stir in the lemon juice.
3. While the sugar mixture is cooking, slice the pears in half, then into quarters, remove the cores with a paring knife, and cut the halves lengthwise into 2 thick slices each (so, 8 slices total per pear). When the sugar mixture is golden, arrange the pear slices in concentric circles in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the pears are slightly tender, about 3 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, lightly flour a clean work surface. Roll out the puff pastry to a square slightly larger then the diameter of the pan you are using. Trim the pastry into a circle just barely larger than the circumference of the pan, and prick the puff pastry in several places with a fork. Place the pastry over the pears and carefully tuck the edges around the tops of the pears (you may want to use a rubber spatula, as the pan will be hot). Bake for about 25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and puffed.
5. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the skillet, place a serving plate (larger than the pan) on top of the pan, and carefully invert the tart tatin onto the plate. If any pears clung to the pan, remove them, and place them back in their rightful spots. Let cool a bit more, then serve warm, with ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.