This French-style upside-down tart is classically made with apples, but we also like a variation made with spiced pears. The dramatic presentation—caramelized pear wedges nestled in a disk of golden brown pastry—belies how easy it is to put together. Starting with a good-quality, purchased puff pastry dough keeps prep to a minimum.
Spiced Pear Tarte Tatin
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) granulated sugar
4 firm, ripe, Bosc or Anjou pears, peeled, cored and quartered
1/2 cup (4 oz./120 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tbs. finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 sheet frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Using 1 Tbs. of the butter, grease a 12-inch (30-cm) round baking dish with 2-inch (5-cm) sides. Sprinkle the granulated sugar evenly over the bottom.
Place the pears, cut side up, in a tight layer in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) of the brown sugar, the crystallized ginger and the lemon juice. Cut the remaining 2 Tbs. butter into bits and dot the tops of the pears. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) brown
sugar, the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Sprinkle the mixture over the pears.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry a little larger than the diameter of the baking dish. Cover the dish with the pastry, tucking the edges into the dish to form a rim that encircles the pears. Prick the pastry all over with a fork.
Bake until the pastry is golden brown, the pears are tender, and a thickened, golden syrup has formed in the dish, about 1 hour. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
Run a knife around the inside of the dish to loosen the tart. Invert the tart onto a plate, dislodging and replacing any pears that may have stuck to the dish. Cut into wedges and serve warm. Serves 8.
Find more fresh ideas for pies, cakes, tarts and more in our new Luscious Fruit Desserts.