Izzy (and Mama) Eat: The Gourmand Grows up...

Tales of Empty Nesting ...The Next Chapter

Sunday, October 5, 2008

When Birthday Cake Won't Do: Pear Tarte Tatin

Oh what to make for the husband who lacks a solid sweet tooth? For one who isn't a huge fan of cakes or sweets in general? I could have gone the ginger cake route (btdt) but wanted to come up with a different birthday cake replacement.

So I looked around my kitchen and found myself with a windfall of pears from my CSA. They were begging to be used and since I have actually seen A. order Tarte Tatin in restaurants, a Pear Tarte Tatin became the obvious choice. It is simple to prepare. It can hold candles and we would all be happy to eat it.

It would also be the perfect dessert to accompany the bistro birthday dinner I had planned to prepare: Roast Leg of Lamb with Olive Tapenade, Zucchini and Leeks, Sweet potatoes roasted with honey/rosemary/olive oil, Cheese platter..and dessert.

Pear Tarte Tatin (Caramelized Upside-Down Pear Tart)
Adapted from Patricia Wells, Bistro Cooking* (Workman Publishing, 1989.)


6 tablespoons unsalted butter
7 to 8 firm pears (about 2 1/2 pounds, preferably bosc or anjou), peeled, quartered and cored
1/2 cup sugar
1 recipe Pate Brisee (below)
1 cup creme fraiche or sour cream for serving

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Melt the butter in a tarte tatin pan (or deep skillet) over medium-high heat. Add pears and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, for 20 minutes. Increase heat to high and cook for 15 more minutes, until pears turn a deep, golden brown. Watch carefully to avoid burning the fruit.

3.If you are baking the tarte in a separate dish, pile pears into that dish. Otherwise, remove pan from heat and roll out pastry slightly larger than baking dish. Place pastry on top of fruit, tucking in along edges and down into dish.

4.Place tarte in center of oven and bake until pears bubble and pastry is a deep golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes.

5.Remove the tarte from the oven and immediately place a large, flat heatproof serving platter on top of the baking dish or pan. Invert the pan and give the bottom a firm tap to release any pears that may be sticking to the bottom. Slowly release the baking dish so that the tarte falls evenly onto the platter. Serve warm or at room temperature, passing creme fraiche or sour cream.

Serves 8 to 10.

Pate Brisee

1 to 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (do not use unbleached)
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons ice water

1.Place 1 cup of flour, the butter, and salt in a food processor. Process just until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds. Add the ice water and pulse just until the pastry begins to hold together, about 6 or 8 times. Do not let it form a ball.

2. Transfer the pastry to waxed paper; flatten the dough into a disk. If the dough seems too sticky, sprinkle with additional flour, incorporating 1 tablespoon at a time. Wrap the pastry in waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

* Definitely one of my favorite cookbooks, worth adding to your repertoire.


Carla said...

I decided to make this as well (and just finished off for my "dinner") we ordered french on sunday and since they didn't have the dessert I wanted we whipped up the pear tarte tatin while we waited!
PS the bread and cookies were a BIG hit at yom kippur!

thanks Carla

Izzy's Mama said...

Carla: So glad the challah and rugelach were a hit! And you made pear tart tatin. You are quite the suzy homemaker, aren't you??