This post was featured on GustoTV Guesto Blogger Series. I was the GuestoTV blogger of the month for July 2014.
I just couldn’t wait for this year’s fresh British Columbia pears to be in season. While shopping at our local Co-op not too long ago when my nose picked up a light, slightly sweet scent near the produce aisle. I followed the scent until I located the source. A large display of lovely Forelle Pears. Choosing fruit out of season is not always a good choice but my rule of thumb is that I always have to find it by scent. If I can’t smell the fruit by just walking by, I know that it won’t be worth purchasing. I’ve always had a strong sense of smell but I am married to someone who doesn’t and it drives both of us nuts. It makes me crazy because I can’t understand why hubby can’t always smell what I can and him goes nuts because I am always asking him if he can ‘smell that’. Let me assure you, he could smell these pears fairly well.
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Since visiting France, making a Tarte Tatin or Tarte aux Poires has been on my ‘to do’ list. I enjoyed a few really delicious treats along with a café au lait or two.
The recipe for a tarte tatin begins with making a pastry. I always add the flour and salt to the food processor and cut the cold butter into little squares. Then I process it until the butter/flour resembles coarse sand. With the processor running I add the cold water one tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together.
Once the caramel is done, it’s time to get creative with your pear arrangement. Then all you have to do is roll out the pastry and place it on top of the fruit. Be sure to have it nestled among the pears and over the edge of your ovenproof pan. Don’t forget to poke a few holes in the top before you put it in the oven.
Bake it until the smell seeps through the house and the pastry is nice and golden. The most difficult part is flipping it all over onto a plate. Remember the sauce is very hot so try to suck it all up with a turkey baster or pipette before you flip it. Place the extra sauce back in the pan and reduce to make a thicker caramel. When it has thickened slightly, pour back over the warm tarte and enjoy!
Tarte Tatin aux Poires (recipe from Saveur)
FOR THE PASTRY:
1 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
2 tbsp. shortening
FOR THE FILLING:
2 lbs. firm pears, peeled, cored, and halved lengthwise; then sliced.
Juice of 1 lemon
1¼ cups sugar
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1. 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.
2. 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 ¼ cup of the sugar, and set aside for 20 minutes.
3. 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.
4. Drain pears and place in skillet with caramelized sugar round side down, with stems facing center. Gently fan slices out.
5. 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 ¼” steam holes in center. Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
6. 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.