Pear Tarte Tatin


French classic, tarte tatin aux poires, upside down pear tart with flakey pastry crust.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Have you ever made a tarte tatin? It’s classic French rustic tart, made like an upside down cake, in a cast iron skillet.

You create a caramel base at the bottom of the pan, top with sliced fruit such as apples, pears, or quince. Top again with a pastry crust, either rolled out dough or puff pastry, tuck the edges of the pastry into the pan, bake until bubbly and brown, and then carefully turn out onto a serving dish.

The result? A beautifully browned crust topped with a lovely arrangement of fruit cooked in a caramel sauce.

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Pear Tarte Tatin Recipe

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 8 servings



  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick, 4 ounces)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup full fat sour cream


  • 2 pounds firm bosc pears (about 5 pears)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp sugar plus 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 teaspoons of minced candied ginger
  • Light grating of fresh nutmeg (or a dash of ground nutmeg)

Equipment needed:

  • A well-seasoned 9-inch or 10-inch cast iron pan
  • Rimmed serving plate or pie plate


1 Make the pastry dough: Cube the butter and set out at room temperature. In a separate large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Use your hands or a pastry cutter to work the butter into the flour until you see small, pea-sized pieces of butter. Stir in the sour cream with a fork. Form the dough into a ball and shape into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before rolling out. (See more instructions here: No Fail Sour Cream Pie Crust Recipe.)

While waiting for the dough, prepare the pears and the caramel in steps 2 through 5.

2 Prep the pears: Peel and halve the pears lengthwise. Reserve one pear half for the center of the tarte, and cut the remaining halves once more lengthwise.

Core the pear quarters and the half. As you peel and cut the pears, place them in a bowl and sprinkle some lemon juice over them to keep them from turning brown.

Sprinkle the pear pieces with 2 Tbsp sugar and toss to distribute the sugar and lemon juice over all the pears.

3 Melt butter, add sugar to pan: Melt butter in cast iron pan on medium heat. Swirl the butter so that it coats the sides of the pan as well. Sprinkle 2/3 cup of sugar over the butter in an even layer. Remove the pan from heat.

4 Arrange pears in pan: Place the single pear half, cut side up, in the center of the pan. Fan the remaining pear quarters, with the narrow side pointing toward the center, around the center pear half. Angle them as you go as to fit all of the pears in. Try to minimize any gaps.

5 Cook gently until base is caramelized: Return the pan to medium heat and gently cook, without stirring the pears until the sugar butter mixture turns a deep caramel color, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and place on a baking sheet pan.

6 Sprinkle with nutmeg and ginger: Sprinkle the pears with grated nutmeg and minced candied ginger.

7 Roll out dough and arrange over pears in pan: Preheat your oven to 375°F. Roll out the pastry dough to 11 inches if using a 9-inch cast iron pan and 12 inches if using a 10-inch pan. Place the pastry dough over the pears and gently tuck the edges inside the edge of the pan. Careful, the pan is still hot. I find using a fork helps to ease the dough inside the edges of the pan.

8 Bake: Place the pan in the 375°F oven (on the baking sheet to catch any spillover) and reduce the heat to 350°F. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until pastry is baked through and nicely browned. Remove from oven.

9 Invert into pie pan: Place a rimmed serving dish or a pyrex or ceramic pie dish over the pan. Wearing thick, well insulated oven mitts or potholders, using two hands to hold the dish firmly over the pan, flip them over, releasing the tarte tatin to the plate.

The caramel is hot and liquid-y and can easily spill, so take care and work quickly. Don't worry if some of the liquid spills out, just make sure to wear oven mitts (or long sleeves) and an apron to protect yourself as you do the flip.

Flip the tarte over  while the tarte tatin is still hot, that way the caramel will not make the tarte stick to the pan as you invert it. The pears will likely have moved a bit in the flip-over, so rearrange them with a fork (they're hot!) so they form an attractive pattern.

Let cool to room temperature before serving. Serve with a little vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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Pear Tarte Tatin

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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44 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Bridget

    Very straight forward recipe! (I used my own pie crust recipe, so I can’t speak to the crust) but the timing and technique for the caramel cooking and putting it all together were spot on!
    Don’t wait for the caramel to brown on your entire pear situation – once the middle turned dark brown (about 25mins for me), I was good to go to take it off the heat and stick the crust over it – using a fork worked great to poke it under the sides (I sacrificed two dark/blackened pear slices debating how much dark caramel to go for.) don’t worry, the sides will brown up beautifully in the oven. Mine took about 35mins to turn golden brown in the oven, and man does it look and taste beautiful.
    10/10 would recommend


  2. Isabelle

    Soooo nice and no too complicated to do. I didn’t have candied ginger but it was very good!


  3. Kathy

    Wonderful easy recipe, mine turned out perfect, am making another, thank you


    Show Replies (1)
  4. Sue

    After 30 minutes ithasn’t carmelized and the pears are already done. By the time it’s baked it will be mush. I think it would be better to carelize first and then add the pears.
    If by some chance it does turn out well, I will write a new review. Very frustrated right now.


    Show Replies (2)
  5. Mare

    Absolutely delicious and so easy! I added a touch of pear liquor when making the caramel sauce, but it doesn’t need it.


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Pear Tarte Tatin