A whole tarte tatin on a white plate with one slice taken out of it

Pear tarte tatin

  • serves 6
  • Easy

Making a classic tarte tatin may be the ultimate pudding showstopper, but combine it with ripe British pears and you’re reaching perfection. Remember, ice cream on the side is non-negotiable

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Make this impressive pear tarte tatin recipe, then check out our classic tarte tatin, tomato tarte tatin, shallot tarte tatin and more indulgent dessert recipes.

This classic French dessert reaches perfection with beautifully ripe British pears. Flip the tarte over and you’ll have a dark caramel sauce, crispy pastry and meltingly soft pears. Follow these simple steps to make our supreme version of the dessert.


The type of fruit

The right variety of pear and ripeness is important when making a tart tatin, as something like a Conference pear or an under-ripe fruit will be too crunchy, and will not soften when cooked. Too ripe, and you risk the pears collapsing and becoming a purée when baked.


Preparing the pear

Trimming the edges off the pear wedges before cooking helps prevent any mushiness when cooked. If left on, those edges are likely to collapse under the fierce heat of the caramel. To get perfectly cooked pieces of fruit, be sure to add them to the caramel, then cook and turn for a few minutes until they begin to soften slightly first – they’ll start to take on the caramel flavour and be perfectly cooked by the time it comes to flip.


Getting crisp pastry

Piercing the pastry means the steam from the cooking pears and caramel can escape from underneath, and stops it from becoming soggy. You’ll also have fully cooked pastry throughout.


Avoiding crystallisation

Caramel can be tricky. Dissolving the sugar in water to make a syrup creates a more stable caramel than sugar on its own. This way, the caramel is less likely to crystallise as the water evaporates from the syrup. You should also avoid stirring the syrup too much, or turning the heat up too high too early – these things can also lead to the sugar crystallising, and it can turn cloudy. If it reaches that stage, you should discard the mixture and start again. If you have a heatproof pastry brush, it can help if you dip it in water and brush down the edges of the pan, as this is where the crystallisation is likely to start.


The benefits of butter

Adding butter to the caramel changes the structure to make it into a sauce. It also rounds the bitterness of the caramel and makes it more fluid at a lower temperature, so you’ll have plenty of caramel sauce when it comes to serve.

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Ingredients

  • Williams pears 4, halved, cored and quartered
  • caster sugar 150g
  • salted butter 50g, cubed
  • puff pastry 500g block
  • plain flour for dusting
  • egg 1, beaten
  • ice cream to serve

Method

  • Step 1

    Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Use a small, sharp knife to round off any sharp edges from the pear segments.

  • Step 2

    Tip the sugar into a 25cm ovenproof frying pan with 3 tbsp water. Heat gently, swirling the pan as the sugar melts. Turn up the heat and cook until a caramel the shade of a copper penny forms. Carefully add the butter – the mixture will splutter – and swirl to dissolve. Add the pear pieces. Turn the heat down and spoon the caramel over the pear segments, turning them for 5 minutes until they’re coated and turning golden. Remove the pan from the heat.

  • Step 3

    Arrange the pear segments neatly in the pan, flat-side up. Remember that the sides of the pear on the base of the pan will be facing upwards once the tart is flipped.

  • Step 4

    Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface into a circle about ½cm thick, and a little bigger than the frying pan. Gently lift the puff pastry and drape it over the pan, tucking the edges of the pastry into the frying pan so it fits snugly over the pears. Use a small, sharp knife to prick between six and nine holes all over the pastry. Brush all over with the beaten egg. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes until the pastry is golden.

  • Step 5

    Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Put a large serving plate over the frying pan, then quickly flip the tart over and onto the plate. Cut into wedges and serve with ice cream.

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Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 548
  • Fat 29.4g
  • Saturates 15g
  • Carbs 62.2g
  • Sugars 36.6g
  • Fibre 5g
  • Protein 6.1g
  • Salt 0.9g
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