I was craving something sweet, something fruity…pears. I was craving the harry and david pears my fabulous mom got me for Christmas. I opened the box and sliced a pear. The juices ran across the knife blade, tripping down my fingers and running down my arm. A perfect pear. As I stood at the counter, licking the pear juice from my fingers, I realized that I had four more pears, just waiting to be eaten. However, they were perfectly ripe and I couldn’t demolish another 4 pears. So I decided to make a dessert. A lovely dessert. A tarte tantin.

The origin of the tarte tantin is credit to the Tantin sisters, who operated the Hotel Tantin in France. As with so many classic dishes, this began with an error. As legend has it, something went awry during the creating of an apple pie or and the tarte tantin was created. The key characteristic of the tarte tantin is how the fruit is cooked in butter in sugar before it is combined with the pastry dough to create the tarte. Apples are traditionally used, but other fruit, such as pears, are excellent options as well.

While the tarte tantin is not difficult to make, it is important to proceed with caution. Boiling sugar and butter is extremely painful if splashed or dripped on skin and will burn you. As this involves a lot of doing things like arranging slices of fruit in, what is basically sugar magma, and flipping the tart over while the caramel is still hot and running, safety and common sense is key. Try not to burn yourself. Having said that, a pear tarte tantin is heavenly and you should give it a try.

 

 

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Ingredients:

Crust:
1 C flour
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
lg. pinch salt
3-5 Tbsp ice water

Filling:
6-8 Pears, sliced
1/2 C sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger

 

 

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Preheat oven to 400º F.

Cut up the butter into chunks and toss with the flour, salt and sugar for the crust. Rub through your fingers until the mixture has a sandy consistency.

 

 

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Add the ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, until the dough comes together. Flatten the dough, wrap it in plastic and put it in the fridge.

 

 

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Turning to the filling, melt the butter in a cast iron pan. Add the sugar, salt, ginger and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Carefully add the pears and cook until soft.

 

 

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Roll out the dough so it is big enough to cover the pan, plus a little extra. Drape the dough over the pears, carefully tucking the ends of the dough in the edge of the pan.

 

 

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Move the cast iron pan to a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes; until the crust is brown and set.

 

 

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Remove the tart from the oven and turn the tarte out. I like to use the method of covering the pan with the plate, holding them together and then flipping the whole bundle over and removing the pan. As I keep stressing, be careful. Everything will be extremely hot.

 

 

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Let the pears with their caramel coating set up for a while so the dish will hold together. Then slice and serve with some vanilla ice cream or a drizzle of creme anglaise. Also, this is delicious the next day.

 

 

Pear Tarte Tantin
 
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • 1 C flour
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • lg. pinch salt
  • 3-5 Tbsp ice water
  • Filling:
  • 6-8 Pears, sliced
  • ½ C sugar
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  2. Cut up the butter into chunks and toss with the flour, salt and sugar for the crust. Rub through your fingers until the mixture has a sandy consistency.
  3. Add the ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, until the dough comes together. Flatten the dough, wrap it in plastic and put it in the fridge.
  4. Turning to the filling, melt the butter in a cast iron pan. Add the sugar, salt, ginger and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Carefully add the pears and cook until soft.
  5. Roll out the dough so it is big enough to cover the pan, plus a little extra. Drape the dough over the pears, carefully tucking the ends of the dough in the edge of the pan.
  6. Move the cast iron pan to a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 35 - 40 minutes; until the crust is brown and set.
  7. Remove the tarte from the oven and turn the tarte out. I like to use the method of covering the pan with the plate, holding them together and then flipping the whole bundle over and removing the pan. As I keep stressing, be careful. Everything will be extremely hot.
  8. Let the pears with their caramel coating set up for a while so the dish will hold together. Then slice and serve with some vanilla ice cream or a drizzle of creme anglaise.