Pear Tarte Tatin

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

Pear Tarte Tatin
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.

Pear tarte
Elise Bauer

Pear Tarte Tatin

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 80 mins
Total Time 110 mins
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 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

Filling:

  • 2 pounds firm bosc pears (about 5 pears)

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons sugar plus 2/3 cup of sugar

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 2 teaspoons minced candied ginger

  • Light grating fresh nutmeg (or a dash ground nutmeg)

Equipment needed:

  • A well-seasoned 9-inch or 10-inch cast iron pan

  • Rimmed serving plate or pie plate

Method

  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 tablespoons 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.

    pear-tarte-tatin-method-1
    Elise Bauer
    pear-tarte-tatin-method-2
    Elise Bauer
  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.

    pear-tarte-tatin-method-3
    Elise Bauer
    pear-tarte-tatin-method-4
    Elise Bauer
  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.

    pear-tarte-tatin-method-5
    Elise Bauer
    pear-tarte-tatin-method-6
    Elise Bauer
  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.

    pear-tarte-tatin-method-7
    Elise Bauer
    pear-tarte-tatin-method-8
    Elise Bauer
  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.

    pear-tarte-tatin-method-9
    Elise Bauer
    pear-tarte-tatin-method-10
    Elise Bauer

    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.

Pear Tarte Tatin
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
382 Calories
19g Fat
52g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 382
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 12g 59%
Cholesterol 50mg 17%
Sodium 274mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 52g 19%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 33g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 4mg 19%
Calcium 27mg 2%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 175mg 4%
*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.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.