Tarte Tatin is a type of upside-down fruit tart consisting of pastry baked over slices of fruit arranged in caramelized sugar, served fruit side up after cooking. It is said to have originated in France in the 1800’s when the proprietor of a hotel accidentally burned the fruit for an apple pie. Her guests loved the burned sugar apple mishap and the Tarte Tatin was born.
If you’ve watched as many episodes of Martha Stewart and Ina Garten as I have, you know all about the Tarte Tartin.
I left my television on last night and woke up this morning to a cooking show set in Africa. The host, South African food blogger Sarah Graham travels Africa and shares recipes from the local cuisine. This morning’s episode featured grilled warthog, which for obvious reasons, I will not be sharing. But, what woke me out of a dead sleep was a Pear Tarte Tatin with white chocolate sauce. I like white chocolate about as much as I like grilled warthog, but I knew I would be making a Pear Tarte Tatin today! We have two pear trees in our yard loaded with ripe pears. Despite that the temperature was hovering around the same as the surface of the moon, I picked, washed, peeled and sliced about ten pounds of fresh pears. Tonight I have one Pear Tarte Tatin for me and Michael, and one to share with our neighbors. While I took my inspiration from Sarah, I did not include rosemary or white chocolate and pretty much winged it from there.
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, cubed
- 8-9 fresh pears, peeled, cored and sliced
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Place the sugar and butter in a heavy-based (oven-proof) round pan over medium–high heat. Stir two or three times and then simmer gently until the sugar is melted and golden. Add the water to keep the sugar from burning. Add the pears, lemon juice, and vanilla to the pan and gently stir until the pears are well coated. Cook gently for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and arrange the pears so that they are lying as flat and close together as possible.
- Cut out a circle of pastry that is 1" wider than the width of the pan. Lay it over the pears and tuck in the edges so that everything is well covered. (If you did not use an oven-proof pan, transfer the cooked pears to a round shallow 8-9" baking pan) Make 4 or 5 small slits in the pastry with a knife to allow steam to escape during cooking. bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pastry is puffy and golden.
- Allow the tart to cool for a few minutes before turning out onto a plate by holding the plate over the pan with pot holders and invert the pan. Be very careful, as the caramel is extremely hot. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream on top!