We’re in very delicious territory here, friends. I absolutely love Tarte Tatin. Give me apple, peach, apricot, pineapple, anything and I will happily cook it in caramel, top it with pastry and then bake it.
But my new favourite, I think, has to be this lovely pear version.
I went heavy on the vanilla in the caramel, and used a healthy dose of brandy which compliments the sweet, aromatic pears beautifully.
Really, what more could a pear ask for than to be bathed in a bubbling pool of dark caramel, and then blanketed in a generous sheet of all-butter puff pastry? There’s no better end for a pear than this.
Speaking of pastry, you should know that I totally advocate the use of store-bought puff. The only thing is that you need to get the all-butter stuff. Otherwise you end up with margarine, and that leaves that awful coating on the roof of your mouth, which I do not dig.
Once your good quality puff pastry has gone into the oven, and had the steam off these pears soaking into it for half an hour, along with having its edges coated and crisped with caramel, no-one will care where it came from. They will be too busy trying to break pieces off without burning their fingers.
Which, I might add, is impossible to do! So take my advice and let this cool down a little before you tuck in. You want the caramel to still be oozy and gorgeous, but not molten-lava-hot.
That way, the generous scoop of ice cream that you dollop onto each slice melts seductively, and slowly, allowing perfect bites to be crafted right up until you’re finished.
And I almost forgot the pistachios! Don’t forget the pistachios; they’re so important I even included them in the title of the recipe. Even though they’re just chopped fresh and sprinkled over the top, they provide such a boost of flavour and texture and yes, good looks, that I think they pretty much make this tart.
So tell me, are you a fan of the tarte tatin? (<—- that rhymes!)
- 4 pears (I used packham pears)
- 1 sheet of all-butter puff pastry
- ½ cup (110g) sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- ½ cup brandy (or lemon juice and water)
- ½ stick (55g) butter
- ¼ cup chopped pistachios
- Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
- Peel the pears, slice them in half and use a spoon to remove the seeds and cores.
- Cut a circle roughly 9inches/23cm from the puff pastry and set aside.
- Place a roughly 9 inch/23cm oven-proof pan over a medium heat, and add the sugar, vanilla and brandy to the pan. Heat, without stirring, until the sugar is melted and the mixture is a light caramel colour.
- Add the pears, core side down and cook them for about 4 minutes, turning half way through.
- Add the butter on top of the fruit and then place the pastry over the top very carefully tucking in the edges just a little.
- Place the pan into the oven and back for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden.
- Remove from the oven and leave to sit for about 30 seconds, before very carefully upending the tarte onto a serving dish. Place the dish upside down on the pan, and then using oven gloves or tea towels, turn it over confidently in one motion. Lift off the pan, and there is your tarte tatin! If any of the fruit sticks to the pan, just pull it out and stick it back on the tarte - the whole point is how rustic and ramshackle it looks.
- Sprinkle generously with pistachios and serve! Brilliant with ice cream, creme fraiche or even sour cream.