Tarte Tatin is a famous French tart that is often prepared with puff pastry, but the original is made with more of a shortcrust kind of pastry. In this variation I used pears instead of apple, and I used a technique of mixing the pastry that makes it even more flaky. Otherwise the recipe is the same as for my regular apple Tarte Tatin. Of course you could also use this method for the pastry to make it with apple.
Most of the preparation for this Tarte Tatin can be done in advance, such that when it is time to serve dessert, you only have to place the pastry on top of the pears, brush with beaten egg, and place the tart in the oven. The tart can then be served warm and crispy.
200 grams (1 1/4 cup) pastry flour
100 grams (7 Tbsp) cold butter
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1 egg, beaten
For the pear-caramel filling
3 firm large pears
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
100 ml (1/3 cup) water
40 grams (3 Tbsp) salted butter, or use unsalted butter and add a generous pinch of salt
Combine 130 grams flour (that is 2/3 of the flour) with 1 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of the food processor, and pulse a couple of times to mix.
Then add 100 grams of cold butter in cubes.
Process until the dough comes together. Do not stop processing until it does so.
Flatten the dough in the bowl of the food processor…
…and sprinkle the remaining flour on top.
Pulse a couple of times to end up with small clumps (pea sized) of dough that are surrounded with dry flour.
Transfer the dough to a large bowl, and add most of the beaten egg.
Save a bit of egg for brushing the crust later. Cover and refrigerate it.
After you’ve added the egg…
…use a spoon or spatula to mix the egg and the dough. Do not use your (warm) hands, as that would melt the butter.
If the dough is too dry and does not come together, add a tablespoon of cold water and mix it in. Add more water, a single tablespoon at a time, if needed.
Once the dough has come together, shape it into a thick disc and wrap it with cling film. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for half an hour.
While the dough rests, prepare the filling. Peel and core the pears and slice each pear into 4 wedges and then each wedge into 4 slices. You can check if you have enough pear slices by fitting them in the pan that you will use for the tart. If you do, then remove them again after fitting.
Combine 100 grams of sugar with 100 ml of water in a wide shallow pan with a diameter of 28 cm (11″).
Heat this over high heat without stirring (but slightly swirling the pan is a good idea)…
…to get a caramel. This is not brown enough…
…but this is. It takes less time to go from yellow to brown to black than from white to yellow, so watch the caramel carefully.
As soon as the caramel is brown, add the pears. Stir briefly, and them…
…add 40 grams of salted butter (or unsalted butter and a generous pinch of salt).
Cook, stirring, until the pears start to soften, 2 to 3 minutes, then turn off the heat.
Arrange the pear slices in a regular pattern.
After half an hour of resting, take the dough out of the refrigerator. Roll it out on a floured work surface (a wooden surface is easiest) using a rolling pin. (I could have used half a tablespoon more water in the dough.)
Roll the dough into a circle of 28 cm (11″) diameter.
Place the circle of dough on a large flat plate, cover with cling film, and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Meanwhile, place the dough on top of the pears, and brush it with the reserved beaten egg.
Bake the tart for 30 minutes at 200C/400F, or until it is golden brown.
Place a large plate on top of the pan, and use oven mitts to turn the tart onto the plate. It is easier if you ask someone to help you, and make sure they wear oven mitts too.
Hot caramel may leak from between the pan and the plate, so be careful.
Tarte Tatin is best served warm, although it is not bad at room temperature either.
A classic wine pairing with Tarte Tatin is a Sauternes. Because of the caramel, a Sauternes fermented in oak barrels is the best choice.
This is my version of homemade chicken soup.