Easy Cardamon & Star Anise Pear Tarte Tatin

A Tarte Tatin is often thought only for the fearless baker. With this recipe you assemble three parts and the result is truly more than the sum.

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If you have some preserved pears, some very buttery pastry and some caramel sauce you can make a Tarte Tatin –  And because of the easier method you also do not need a specialist pan or to countenance the dangers of  forgetting that a frying pan handle direct from an oven is hot…very very hot.

I think that one of the most satisfying things about cooking is  creating dishes from “building blocks”.  From these building blocks below for example many ideas spring…pears with ice cream, a pear and caramel pie, a pear and caramel crumble, individual pear “wellingtons”, ice cream with caramel sauce….. but first before you go all experimental here are the Pear Tarte Tatin constituent elements:

Cardamon & Star Anise Preserved Pears  (you can of course go classic Tarte Tatin  with apples: halve peeled and cored apples and poach in water with a little lemon juice added until cooked but still firm. You need enough apples to cover the base of your dish. Dont use Bramley apples as they will disintegrate into mush)

Very buttery pastry People use puff pastry for tarte tatin but in fact the French tend to use a “Pate brisee” which is a classic pie crust pastry.  I really like to  use my very  buttery  pastry which here puffs up a little and is extremely crisp and delicate.  Failing that, packet puff pastry will do the trick just fine and save you time but wont taste quite as good – but do try and buy an all butter brand to avoid the evil trans fats.

Caramel sauce I like to use the sauce with cream in it which I know is not the purist TT recipe.  If you prefer you can omit the cream – simply add the butter only when making the caramel sauce. The result will be a drier tart with less caramel sauce oozing out but good all the same.

and why not serve with some  “Busy Girl’s no churn ice cream” too?

Ingredients  (for One Tarte Tatin)

The exact quantities will depend on the dimension of your dish – this is for a 26cm dish

  • 8 preserved  pears  (16 halves)
  • 1 quantity of very buttery pastry or 1 packet of puff pastry (“foetaj”)  – you will need approx 300-400g
  • 1 quantity of caramel sauce.

Gadgets & Gizmos

A ceramic dish that you can invert such as a quiche dish, quite deep. This dish was given to me by a cooking friend – I often use it for crumbles and now for my Tarte Tatins!

How To

Set the oven to 180C

Butter the dish

I keep the pears as halves. Arrange them in the dish with the inner parts uppermost

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Pour over lots of caramel sauce

Roll out a circle of pastry fairly thick

Place on top of the pears and because this is not a pie but will be inverted after cooking, now cut it to fit the inner rim. Tuck the pastry in around the pears

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Bake until the pastry is a lovely golden colour – this takes about 30-40 minutes.

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Let it cool a little and then place a plate over the top and holding it with a thick tea towel, turn it upside down.  I let it stand for about ten minutes to make sure gravity does the hard work. Pull the dish off the plate and with a bit of luck your caramelised pears will all be arranged neatly.  If one or two have stuck its not a disaster to rearrange them neatly in place. Serve warm with ice cream or creme fraiche (“smantana”).

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