What Is a Tarte Tatin?
Have you ever made a tarte tatin? It's a 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.
How to Use Frozen Puff Pastry for Tarte Tatin
The recipe calls for our Sour Cream Pie Crust recipe as the pastry, but you can use a thawed frozen puff pastry sheet as well.
One should be enough, but be sure to roll it out a bit and trim the square puff pastry to a circle to match the size of your cast iron skillet. Roll the pastry dough out to 11 inches if using a 9-inch cast iron pan and 12 inches if using a 10-inch pan.
Best Types of Pears to Use in Tarte Tatin
This recipe calls for bosc pears, but you can use other pear varieties, like bartlett or anjou. Just be sure that the fruits are still firm and not too soft. Use pears that are ripe but still firm enough to hold their shape when sliced. Look for unwrinkled stems when choosing pears to buy.
Other Fruit to Use in Tarte Tatin
- Good tart baking apples
- Most other fruits will be too soft for the baking time required here, but for plums, try our Plum Upside Down Cake instead!
More French Recipes for That Parisienne Feeling
- Chocolate Macarons
- How to Make French Crepes
- How to Make Creme Brulee
- Classic Chocolate Mousse
- Le Tallyrand
Pear Tarte Tatin
You'll need a well-seasoned 9 or 10-inch cast iron pan to make the tarte tatin and a rimmed plate or pie plate for serving.
For the crust:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup full fat sour cream
For the filling:
2 pounds firm Bosc pears (about 5 pears)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar plus 2/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons minced candied ginger
Light grating fresh nutmeg (or a dash ground nutmeg)
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.
While waiting for the dough to chill, prep the pears and the caramel in steps 2 through 5.
Preheat the oven:
Set your oven to 375°F.
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 the lemon juice over them to keep them from turning brown.
Sprinkle the pear pieces with 2 tablespoons sugar and toss to distribute the sugar and lemon juice over all the pears.
Melt the butter and add sugar to the pan:
Melt butter in a 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 the heat.
Arrange the pears in the 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.
Cook gently until the 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 the heat and place on a baking sheet pan.
Sprinkle with nutmeg and ginger:
Sprinkle the pears with grated nutmeg and minced candied ginger.
Roll out the dough and top the pears:
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.
Reduce the temperature and bake:
Place the pan in the 375°F oven (on a baking sheet to catch any spillover) and reduce the heat to 350°F. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until baked through, and the pastry is nicely browned. Remove from the oven.
Invert the tarte tatin into the serving dish:
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!) to form an attractive pattern.
Let cool and serve:
Let cool to just warm or room temperature before serving. Serve with a little vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on the side.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 19g||24%|
|Saturated Fat 12g||58%|
|Total Carbohydrate 52g||19%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||14%|
|Total Sugars 33g|
|Vitamin C 4mg||19%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|