Sunday, November 1, 2015

Asian pear tarte tatin

A stunning way to showcase Asian pears (or apples if you prefer) - this tarte tatin is basically a fancy French term for an upside down pie!
Is it weird that most of the French terms I know are cooking or baking related? I have no idea how to say "Where is the bathroom?" but I know how to properly pronounce croissant and tarte tatin. A traditional tarte tatin is something that I've been wanting to bake for a while, but I've just not made the time to purchase all the fruit for. Call me lazy on that front.

I used to love Asian pears growing up, but my mom would always cut them up and bathe them in salt water to prevent them from browning. I absolutely hated the layer of salt on the sweet, juicy pears and still can remember how the taste made me feel. Since I have bad memories of eating Asian pears plain, I had to find a better way to enjoy them.

Our biweekly CSA delivery arrived with 5-6 Asian pears. I knew I would not be eating these plain, so I turned them into an Asian pear tarte tatin. Since the texture of Asian pears is similar to an apple, I thought these would hold up well in the dessert.

The list of ingredients for this tarte tatin is fairly minimal. And you can use a pre-packaged pie crust if you don't want to make one from scratch. Save the other crust for a rainy day (or make Aunt Jo's pecan pie). And don't be afraid of "the flip" - when you transfer the tarte tatin from the skillet to your serving platter. If the pears don't all come out in the flip, you can easily pick them up and re-arrange them to your liking.

We called this an upside down apple (pear) pie so entice Addie since she had not heard of a tarte tatin before. She was a huge fan of it and especially enjoyed the crust and the caramel sauce. She didn't believe me when I told her that the fruit was pears rather than apples and I believe she accused me of lying at one point.

So the next time you find yourself with an abundance of Asian pears, regular pears or apples, considering making this tarte tatin. It's a great alternative to a classic apple pie, but without the hassle of creating a lattice top.

Asian pear tarte tatin
  • 4-6 Asian pears
  • 1, 9-inch pie crust dough (I used this one) 
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Directions
Roll out the pie dough to a 10" circle. Place on waxed paper and refrigerate while you prep the pears.

Peel, core and slice the pears into quarters or smaller slices (I cut each pear into sixths).

In a heavy-bottomed skillet (preferably a cast iron or stainless steel one), melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved. The sugar will appear a bit clumpy and then liquify. Once the liquid starts to bubble vigorously, add in the pears.

Stir the pears around every once in a while to coat them. Once the liquid turns to a deep amber color (this will take about 15 minutes), turn the stove off and take the pan off the heat.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Using tongs or a fork, arrange the pears in the pan so that the round sides are on the bottom of the pan. If you like, you can create a pattern for the fruit for a nice presentation.

Take the pie crust out of the refrigerator and gently place it directly over the apples. Tuck any extra crust underneath itself. Prick the top of the crust all over with a fork.

Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the crust. Shake the pan a few times to loosen the apples from the bottom.

Place a large round plate or pan over the top of the skillet. Using oven mitts, hold both the skillet and the pan/plate together and flip them over so the skillet is now on top (upside down). If any parts of the tarte are still stuck to the pan, loosen them now and place it on top of the pan. Feel free to arrange it for a better presentation. Drizzle any remaining caramel sauce over the dessert.

Serve warm and with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and will keep for several days.  You can reheat in the oven or in the microwave if desired.

Yield: About 8-10 servings

Source: the kitchn

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