I ain’t gonna lie. I lost a little sleep over this thing.
That’s part of the challenge with desserts like cakes, pies, and tarts: you can’t sample them to make sure they taste okay! Wahhh. It’s probably a good idea to do a test run on them, but when you don’t have much money to spare, that’s not always an option.
That was definitely the case with this tarte tatin, especially because puff pastry is so expensive! (I am well aware that it’s definitely worth it, though!) I noticed a few weeks ago that Dufour now makes chocolate (!!!) puff pastry. Having only heard rave reviews about their original puff pastry, I was very intrigued. So intrigued, in fact, that I just skipped over the regular stuff and went straight for the chocolate!
I wanted to make a tarte tatin for Monday evening’s little Canadian Thanksgiving get-together. It seems like this dessert is most often made with apples, but I thought pears would pair (har) better with chocolate. Then while searching for pear tarte tatin recipes, I found one that incorporated fresh ginger and vanilla. These flavors all seemed like they’d go well with chocolate in theory, but boy was I nervous! Having never made a tarte tatin, the whole flipping thing was enough to get my heart pumping. Then throw in a bit of an experimental edge to it and say hello to a night of tossing and turning! Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but I’ll admit I was a little excited about it. ;)
Oh, and it did turn out to be yummy, otherwise I wouldn’t be sharing this! Proof of its success:
Ginger and Vanilla Pear Tarte Tatin with Chocolate Puff Pastry
adapted from Bon Appétit
I read quite a few tarte tatin recipes and the original preparation for this one really seems to be geared for someone who is entertaining and needs to have things ready in advance (let’s just say an ice bath is involved). Since a salad was the only other thing I was putting together, I baked this more along the lines of other recipes. I did want to serve it warm though, so I saved the last bit of baking and flipping until right before serving, as per the original recipe.
As for ingredients, I didn’t make any major changes — just swapped vanilla extract for 1/2 of a vanilla bean, used a little extra butter, some salt, lemon juice… I used to never futz around with recipes if I’d never tried them before. What has happened to me??
1 sheet Dufour frozen chocolate puff pastry, thawed (Dufour recommends 2-3 hours in the fridge or 1-2 at room temperature)
flour for dusting
about 2 1/4 pounds of pears (I used 3 large Bosc)
juice from half of a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon corn syrup (I used golden syrup)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
couple pinches of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
Special equipment: rolling pin, 10 inch ovenproof skillet
Flour the counter, unwrap the thawed puff pastry, then lay it on the counter. (If your pastry breaks at the creases like mine, you can fix that with your fingers.) Sprinkle some more flour on top, then gently roll out the pastry with a rolling pin until it’s big enough to cover the skillet. Lay the skillet face down in the center of the dough and cut about a half inch all around it. Place the circle on a cutting board, cookie sheet, or plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until baking time. Save those leftover scraps wrapped up in the freezer for future yumminess!!
Prepare the pears: I just used a small paring knife to peel them, cut them into wedges with a larger knife, then cut off the core bits with the small knife. Squeeze the lemon juice over the wedges (it’s for the flavor…we’re not worried about them turning brown).
In the skillet, mix together the sugar, water and syrup. Heat on the stove on low until the sugar has melted, then raise the temperature to medium. Let the mixture come to a boil, then watch for it to turn a dark amber color. Remove from the heat.
Add the butter to the caramel mixture and whisk. Once that’s combined, add the vanilla and ginger. The caramel will bubble a bit when you whisk it all together.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Arrange the pear wedges close together around the perimeter of the skillet, then fill up the middle. The pears will cook down a bit, so feel free to add any remaining pieces during the cooking process. Cook the pears on medium heat for about 23 minutes, or until pears are tender and the liquid coats a spoon.
Place the puff pastry on top of the pears, tucking it into the sides. It doesn’t need to look pretty because it will be the bottom! Bake for about 30-35 minutes, then let cool at room temperature.
Before serving, preheat the oven to 375F, then rewarm the tart for 8-10 minutes. Let cool for a couple minutes, then carefully (oven mitts!) invert the tart onto a plate. Serve warm and with fresh whipped cream or ice cream!
Kudos to Jill for having the balls to flip this thing. I tried, but the fact that I was attempting to invert it onto a thick, heavy cutting board wasn’t helping!