John Evelev served us this pear tart for dessert recently, and I swear to you, it was the best dessert I've eaten in a long, long time! The recipe comes from Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells. For the pastry dough, John used ready-made (uncooked) dough from the grocery store and it was as good as a homemade pastry crust. Patricia writes:
Like an authentic tart Tatin, the pear version consists of nothing but well-caramelized pears and a layer of thin pastry. The pears should remain in huge chunks, making for an honest, rustic tart. The clear glass baking dish allows you to see if any pears are sticking as you turn out the tart. This may seem like a lot of pears for a single tart, but they cook down quickly.
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
7 to 8 firm pears (about 2 3/4 pounds; 1.75 kg), preferably Bosc or Anjou, peeled, quartered and cored
1/2 c. (100 g.) sugar
1 recipe of pastry dough
1 cup of crème fraîche or sour cream, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 Celsius).
2. Melt the butter in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the pears and sugar. Cook, stirring carefully from time to time so the pears and sugar do not stick, 20 minutes. Increase the heat to high and cook until the pears and sugar are a deep, golden brown, about 15 more minutes. (If you are like me, the urge will be to stop the cooking a bit soon, so it doesn’t burn. But the tart will be much prettier and taste better if you take the time to allow the pears to run a true golden brown.) Shake the pan from time to time, and watch carefully to be sure that the pears and sugar do not burn. (If you do not have a pan large enough to cook all of the pears, cook them in 2 smaller pans, dividing the ingredients in half.)
3. Literally pile the pears into an unbuttered round 10 1/2-inch (27 cm.) clear glass baking dish or a special tin-lined copper tart Tatin pan.
4. Roll out the pastry dough slightly larger than the dish. Place the pastry on top of the pears, tucking a bit of the dough around the edges and down into the dish. You do not need to prick the dough.
5. Place the tart into the center of the oven and bake until the pears bubble and the pastry is a deep, golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.
6. Remove the tart from the oven and immediately place a large, flat heatproof serving platter top-side down 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 the tart falls evenly onto the serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature, passing a bowl of rich crème fraîche to spoon over the tart.
7. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.
An Update from the University of Missouri
2 years ago