This tart is one of my absolute favourite things to cook and it’s a classic dessert I first learned in the kitchens of Europe and I have made it in many kitchens here in Australia, including Vue de Monde and the restaurant Bennelong at the Sydney Opera House.

The crunchy caramelised pastry is a revelation and really makes this dessert stand out, so pay attention to the important basting step in this recipe, it really is the key to making this dessert sing! 

Bon appetit.

Pear Tarte Tatin
Makes:               1 X 20cm diameter cooked pear tarte tatin
Serves:               4-6
Prep time:          10 mins
Cook time:         45 mins
Cool time:           5 mins +
2             Pears, Corella or a firm variety                                                  
50 g        Unsalted butter, room temperature 
90 g        Caster sugar    
1             Vanilla, seeds scraped from the pod
pinch      Chinese five-spice powder
1             20 cm diameter puff pastry disc rolled to a thickness of 1/2 cm
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C; you will need a 20cm diameter ovenproof shallow pan or tatin tin.
  2. Peel the pears and cut them in half lengthways, use a corer to scoop out the core.
  3. Push the butter into the base of the tatin tin and sprinkle the sugar to cover the butter. Add the scraped vanilla seeds and the scraped pod along with the Chinese five-spice powder.
  4. Place the pears, point centre and cut side down onto the sugar.
  5. Place the disc of pastry over the top of the pears and tuck any excess pastry underneath the round edges of the pear around the tin. We are looking for an unfussy and rustic style appearance to this dessert, so don’t be afraid to get in there and use your hands.
  6. Using a sharp knife cut a small slice in the centre of the puff pastry to allow steam to escape while cooking.
  7. Place the pan onto a stove, BBQ top or flame and heat over a medium to high heat.
  8. As the pan starts to heat shake the pan to avoid the contents from sticking and catching.
  9. Syrup will start to develop in the pan with the butter and sugar mixing and melting together. Use a spoon to scoop some of this syrup onto the back of the exposed puff pastry.
  10. Get the spoon into the centre cavity and ensure a liberal soaking of the pastry with the syrup all over. Continue to shake the pan and keep the contents moving.
  11. Cook until the syrup turns a golden brown colour and then remove from the heat.
  12. Place the entire tin into the oven and cook for around 20-25 minutes or until the tatin looks cooked and the pastry is crisp.
  13. Remove from the oven and allow the tatin to cool for 5 minutes before attempting the flip.
  14. Use oven gloves or a tea towel to hold the serving plate and the tin and flip in one rapid motion until the plate is on the bottom and the tin is on the top.
  15. Remove the tin and leave to cool for five minutes before sliding the tart off the paper onto a serving board or plate. Cut into portions and serve the tatin immediately with some ice cream, cream, custard or all three.
* Tip: The basting of the raw pastry with the syrup might seem strange but it is the most important part of this recipe as this ensures the pastry crisps up in a hot oven.
Vanilla Ice Cream
250 g          Milk
200 g          Cream
2                 Vanilla, seeds scraped from pod
100 g          Caster sugar
100 g          Egg yolks (5-6 yolks)
  1. Place the milk and the cream into a saucepan with the vanilla seeds and scraped pods. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat, set aside. Remove the scraped pods.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until they start to thicken and pale.
  3. Pour one third of the hot milk/cream onto the yolk/sugar mixture and mix well with a whisk.
  4. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk/cream and mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  5. Place the pan back onto a low to medium heat and stir constantly while cooking the ice cream base to 82°
  6. Remove the custard from the heat and pour it into a bowl. Set this bowl into a larger bowl of iced water to cool the custard down quickly. Stir regularly to achieve this.
  7. Once cool churn in an ice cream machine. Store the ice cream in the freezer until needed.
* Tip: You can make the ice cream base up to four days in advance but try to churn the ice cream on the day of serving to achieve the best possible result.
** Tip: Add some fresh grated ginger to the warm base and leave to infuse for an hour before straining for a warming ginger and vanilla ice cream twist.
The pears can be substituted for another fruit if you wish, try a new tart including classic apple or exotic mango or pineapple.
Add some spices of your choice when adding the vanilla seeds if you wish.
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