Pear Tarte Tatin
Tarte tatin is traditionally made with apples, but firm-fleshed pears make a delicate and delicious alternative.
Yield: serves 6
For the Pastry
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 6 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 tbsp. shortening
For the Filling
- 2 lb. firm pears, peeled, cored, and halved lengthwise
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 1⁄4 cups sugar
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt, then rub butter and shortening into flour with your fingertips until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle 3 tbsp. ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, into flour mixture, and knead until dough just holds together. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate.
- Preheat oven to 425°. To fan pears, place core-side down on a cutting board. Starting from just below the stem, cut each one into 4 lengthwise slices, leaving stem end attached. Place in a bowl, gently toss with lemon juice and 1⁄4 cup of the sugar, and set aside for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a 9" ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 cup sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until it turns golden brown and caramelized. Remove skillet from heat. Stir to cool, as the sugar will continue to darken even off the heat.
- Drain pears and place in skillet with caramelized sugar round side down, with stems facing center. Gently fan slices out.
- Roll out dough on a floured work surface into a 10" round about 1⁄4" thick. Place dough on top of pears, covering edge of skillet. Press edges down between pears and inside of skillet and cut four 1⁄4" steam holes in center. Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
- Remove skillet from oven and tilt it carefully, using a baster to draw off excess juices. Transfer juices to a small saucepan and reduce over high heat until thick. Place a large, flat serving platter on top of the skillet and invert quickly and carefully. Spoon the reduced caramelized juices over the pears. Serve warm or at room temperature.