Pear tarte tatin. It’s a subtle twist on the French classic that traditionally calls for apples to be caramelized in a skillet and then inverted onto buttery pastry. This simply sneaks in a different autumn fruit. It’s a feat of culinary magic as far as we’re concerned. One taste and we think you’ll feel the same.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Pear Tarte Tatin
For the pastry
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Ice water
For the caramelized pears
- 4 Anjou or Bartlett pears
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Juice of 1 lemon (3 to 4 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch ground cardamom
- Pinch cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons brandy
Make the pastry
- Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together, about 4 to 9 tablespoons worth. Make sure not to add too much water. Shape the dough into a ball, flatten into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes.
Make the caramelized pears
- Core the pears and cut them into thin slices and toss the pieces in the lemon juice to prevent browning.
- In a large cast-iron skillet (10 or 11 inch skillet works well), heat the butter, sugar, cardamom, and cinnamon until the mixture begins to caramelize, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium low, stir in the pears, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until they begin to soften and gain a bit of color.
- Add the brandy. If you want to flambé the pears the culinary theater doesn’t end with the flip., carefully carefully carefully tilt the pan toward the gas flame to light the alcohol while you lean away from the stovetop so you aren’t near the flame. The fire will subside in a couple of seconds. Let the alcohol evaporate off for a minute or two. If you prefer not to flambé, cook the mixture over high heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and remove the pan from the burner.
Assemble the pear tarte tatin
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Roll the pastry dough out between two pieces of parchment paper so it is the same diameter as the bottom of the skillet in which you cooked the pears. (Or, you can trace the bottom of your skillet onto the parchment using pencil before cooking. Just make sure to roll the dough on the side without the pencil marks.) Lay the pastry round on top of the pears in the skillet, leaving the caramelized liquid in the pan. Bake the tart for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes.
- Flip the tart onto a serving platter, so the pastry is now on the bottom. Slice like a pie and serve each slice with vanilla ice cream.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This was a perfect end to a leisurely weekend meal. Three generations of my family enjoyed this delicious tart. It was light compared to other crust desserts and the cardamom and brandy added a unique, unexpected flavor over the standard cinnamon flavoring. Vanilla ice cream is a must!
This is a lovely autumn dessert with fresh juicy pears. It takes a little bit of work but it’s ultimately worth it in the end. I would recommend using pears that are still a little firm as I found that my very ripe pears broke down quickly. The pastry in this dish is so easy and delicious with the pears.
Finally! Had a chance and a reason to make this pear tart over the weekend. So happy I did. It’s actually quite easy and very delicious. I’m trying this with apples next time, or maybe a combination of both apples and pears. Definitely worth trying.
This pear tart came together relatively easily and the final product was quite tasty. I was pretty hesitant about flipping it onto another plate envisioning pears and sticky liquid all over the counter, but the tart flipped perfectly!