Hello dear reader!
On the last series of UK Celebrity Masterchef one of the technical challenges was to make a Tarte Tatin. I’d always thought this was a difficult dish to do but John Thorode made it look really easy and I just knew I had to give it a go. Tarte Tatin is a French autumnal classic and, now that autumn is well and truly upon us here, apples and pears are in abundance.
I decided to go with pears.
First of all you need to prep four firm-fleshed pears. If you have a corer, use this to remove cores first. I don’t, so I peeled the pears, then halved them and cut away the cores. Top tip from Gordon Ramsey is to do this up to a day in advance, especially if the pears are particularly juicy, as it allows them to dry out a little meaning their juices won’t dilute the caramel. They do go a bit brown but this doesn’t matter when you are going to make them all brown and caramel-ly later anyway!
Next you need to make the caramel. I used 75g sugar, 75g butter, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp ground allspice and the ground seeds from one cardamom pod. It is easiest to use an oven-proof frying pan, otherwise you also need a pie tin later. Place the ingredients in your frying pan, stirring over a high heat until bubbling and starting to caramelise. Then add the pears, turn the heat down slightly and cook for ten minutes, turning occasionally. Once the pears are lovely and caramelised, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Preheat your oven to moderate hot (200°C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6). Roll out 320g puff pastry to just under ½ cm thick and cut a circle slightly larger than the rim of your frying pan. My frying pan isn’t oven-proof, so I have cut out a circle slightly larger than the diameter of my pie tin. If you need to use a pie tin, butter it liberally before transferring the pears and caramel to it. Arrange the pears cut-side up, point inwards and then drape the pastry circle over them. Tuck the pastry down the sides of the tin/pan and slightly under the pears and then pierce several times with a fork.
Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to moderate (180°C, 350°F, Gas Mark 4) and bake for a further 15 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes and then carefully turn out onto a serving plate.
The caramel will still be quite liquid at this point. Leave for another hour or two (if you can!) to let the caramel cool and thicken. Serve as is, or with cream or ice-cream.
I was delighted with how easy the whole dish was to make. The crunchy pastry, sweet caramel, juicy pears and autumnal spices make it a truly delicious and more-ish dessert.
A new blogger’s challenge called Family Foodies has been launched this month by Louisa at Eat Your Veg and Vanesther at Bangers & Mash, with this month’s theme being “Weekend Slowies”; food you might make at the weekend when you have a little more time than during the hectic mid-week rush. The subtle spicing in this Tarte Tatin means it can definitely be enjoyed by all ages, although I personally wouldn’t share (am I bad?). Well, maybe I would share – if they rolled out the pastry!
Since, I made my tart from scratch, I am also entering it in the Made with Love Mondays challenge run by Mark at Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w/ Luv. I didn’t make my own puff pastry but Mark’s rules say that is allowed – phew!
So tell me, dear reader, would you go for Pear Tarte Tatin or would you prefer some other fruit flavour to mingle with the delicious caramel?
Update: I am also entering this into Chris’s Foodie World Cup bloggers challenge, as France are playing today (15th June 2014).