This was my very first attempt at a tarte Tatin! I’m actually quite embarrassed to say that this was also the first time that I had ever tasted a tarte Tatin. I’ve seen it many, many times on tv and in books, but never actually made the effort to get my hands on it.
So I grabbed my trusted Larousse Gastronomique (cookbook “bible”) and started peeling pears. Traditionally, French tarte Tatin is made with apples, but you can use many other kinds of fruit: pears, peaches, prunes, even tomatoes. I chose pears because they are in season and not expensive at all.
I found that the recipe could do with a lot less butter than stated in Larousse (it calls for 225 g, but I only used about 100 g), but otherwise it came out perfectly. This is such a beautiful tart to look at! And it is really so delicious – the caramel sinks into the puff pastry when you turn it out, and it becomes this amazing, sticky, fruity, caramel delicacy. So simple, yet so indulgent. I like to serve it at room temperature, when the texture of the caramel really is at it’s best, but some prefer it warm, served with crème fraîche.
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- 100 g butter
- 1 kg pears (choose a variety that is very firm, but still sweet)
- 500 g puff pastry
- 50 g pecan nuts
- Peel, core and half the pears.
- Using a 23/27 cm tarte tatin dish (or pan), over low heat, melt butter slowly and add sugar. Arrange pear halves tightly in pan in concentric circles, with rounded sides facing the pan bottom. Note: they will shrink, so pack them tightly!
- Turn the heat up to fairly high, and boil until the sugar and butter forms a golden caramel. The mixture will rise as it boils to cover the pears completely. Watch it closely and remove from heat to prevent it from boiling over. When a caramel is formed, remove from heat to cool completely in the pan.
- Pre-heat oven to 200 C.
- Roll out puff pastry and cut into a circle that is slightly larger than the pan. Cover the pears with the pastry, tucking in the edges so that the fruit is contained. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.
- Remove from oven, then place a serving dish on top of the pan and carefully turn upside down (work quickly, but be very careful!). Remove the pan. If any fruit has moved out of place, now is the time to carefully put them back in place if necessary.
- Return the pan to the heat, and quickly toss the pecan nuts in the remaining caramel sauce for a few seconds. Add the pecans to the tart. Cool and serve.
Tip: Only use a tin or a pan that is completely made from metal/iron – plastic handles WILL MELT in the oven! Always remember to use a heat-proof cloth to handle the hot pan.
This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.
Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.
Pictures: Tasha Seccombe.
Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Tasha Seccombe & Ilse van der Merwe.