It was the winter solstice yesterday and Melbourne is letting us know how dark things can get. The last couple of days we have had howling, icy winds, rain, and night descends over the afternoon like a damp woolen cloak.
But all is not lost; we have pears and tarte tartin. When choosing your pears they should smell glorious and burst with juice when bitten into. Sarah and I had been eating these beautiful organic pears with blushing skins. But they have disappeared from the market. Now, we have been using brown Burre Bosc pears for the tart. Sarah has also adapted this recipe to make a quince tarte tartin, (using the poached quinces from the previous post).
The tarte tartin is a glorious thing to unveil. When it is upended the puff pastry lid becoming the puff pastry base, the caramalised sauce pours over and around the pears, which glisten succulent and golden. A ridiculously simple thing to achieve, especially with store bought puff pastry (and even chefs purchase their puff pastry from good bakeries or patisseries), it is French and fancy and ready very quickly.
Pear Tarte Tatin
100g unsalted butter, sliced into 1cm thick knobs
100g raw caster sugar
2 large organic pears, skin removed, cored and cut into quarters
1 vanilla bean, halved (alternatively you can use the vanilla from a jar)
2 sheets of puff pastry (you can usually get very good quality puff pastry from your local patisserie/bakery with some notice)
Preheat your oven at 180C.
In a small skillet that will transfer from the stove-top to the oven, place the cubed butter. Scatter the sugar over the top of the butter, then add your vanilla.
Arrange the pears – with the cored side up, rounded side facing down – in the pan, on top of the butter and sugar.
Cut your pastry into circles, slightly bigger than your pan. Place the first sheet of pastry over the pears. Tuck the pastry around the pears.
Put your pan on a medium heat and when the butter starts to melt brush some of the sugary mixture from the bottom of the pan onto your first sheet of pastry. Then layer your second sheet of pastry on the first and again, tuck around the pears. Brush this piece with the juices from the bottom of the pan also. Cook the pears for about 3mins with the pastry over them.
Put the pan in a moderate oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry puffs up and is golden.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 mins.
Place a plate over the top of your pan and while holding firmly, flip the pan to turn out the tarte tatin. Serve with cream or ice-cream.
(Recipe first published in Yen magazine, Autumn 2012)Category: recipes