Move Over Pie: Tartes are Taking Over!

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*This article originally posted on www.Somerville.Patch.com*

The Tarte Tatin is a dessert that never fails to impress.

Looking for a way to dress up your fruit pies? Enter the Tarte Tatin. This upside down pie featuring fruit baked in a caramel sauce is a classic dessert that dates back to the late 1800’s from the Sologne region of France. This dessert both tastes delightful and will impress any hungry dinner guest awaiting the final course.

To begin, select your favorite pie crust recipe. Cut your recipe in half, as you will only need 1 crust for this tarte. When making your dough add 1 tsp of lemon zest and set it aside to chill while preparing the rest of the pie.

Now it’s time to prep the fruit. This pie is tradionally made with apples—if you choose to use apples it is important to use firm apples that will hold up in high heat, such as the Golden Delicious. Baking apples will turn to mush by the time the baking is finished.

Pears are a yummy alternative to apples and yield a pie that both looks dramatic and tastes delightful. If using pears, be sure to select pears that are of medium firmness. If they are too firm you will have a difficult time peeling and slicing them, and the tarte will not have a big flavor. If the pears are too ripe, they will not hold up well in high heat, so be sure to select 4-5 pears that are only slightly firm.

Peel the pears, slice them in half length-wise and take out the seeds and cores with a spoon. Soak the pear halves in cool water with a tsp of lemon juice while slicing the rest of the fruit; this will keep the fruit from turning brown.

This tarte looks lovely with the pears sliced in half but for a more dramatic effect turn the pear halves into fans. To do this place the pear half on a cutting board with the rounded side facing up. To create the fan effect you need to make slices without completely separating them from each other. Make 5 slices lengthwise that start about ½ an inch down from the very tip of the pear. Return the pears to the water and lemon juice mixture.

Once all the pears are sliced, it’s time to preheat the oven to 425 and begin to make the caramel. To do this, you will need a large skillet that can later be placed in the oven (no plastic handles). In the skillet combine 1 cup of granulated sugar, 6 tablespoons of butter, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice over medium high heat. Stir together occasionally until the butter melts and the mixture begins to boil.

Gently add the fruit to the skillet, starting with the rounded side facing down in the mixture and cook for 5 minutes. Next, carefully turn the pears over to cook the other side for 5 minutes. Flip the pears again and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the mixture has browned and begun to caramelize. Please note that at this point the caramel mixture is extremely hot (somewhere around 200 degrees), so be very careful when flipping the pears to not splatter or burn your fingers. If you find that the sugar is browning too quickly while cooking the pears reduce the heat slightly.

While the pears are cooking in the skillet take out your pie dough and roll it out thinly so it is large enough to cover the top of your skillet (suggestion: if your skillet has a lid use this to measure). Once the pears are done cooking in the skillet and the mixture has begun to caremelize remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the rolled out pie dough to cover the pears in the skillet. Using a wooden spoon tuck the edges of the pie crust around the inside edge of the skillet to form a rim for when the pie is taken out of the pan. Cut slits in the dough to form vents to allow steam to escape and place in the oven to bake for 25 mintues or until the crust is golden brown.

Allow the skillet to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before demolding the tarte. When it comes to removing the pie, it is no time to be shy or hesitate; be bold! Take a serving platter or plate and cover the top of the skillet, then quickly flip the skillet over to invert the the tarte and remove the skillet. Put the platter on the wire cooling rack for 30 minutes. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.

Tarte Tatin summer edition; this tarte can also be made with peaches. If using peaches peel the skin off the peaches and cut into halves. When cooking the fruit in the skillet cook for 2-3 minutes on each side rather than 5 minutes.


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Pear Tarte Tatin

Ingredients:

  • 1 pie crust
  • 4-5 firm pears
  • 1 c of granulated sugar
  • 6 Tbsp of butter
  • 1 Tbsp of lemon juice

Directions:

Peel the pears, slice them in half length-wise and take out the seeds and cores with a spoon.

Preheat the oven to 435 degrees. Heat a large skillet or oven-safe pan over medium-high heat and add the sugar, butter, and lemon juice to the pan. Stir together occasionally until the butter melts and the mixture begins to boil.

Gently add the fruit to the skillet, starting with the rounded side facing down in the mixture and cook for 5 minutes. Next, carefully turn the pears over to cook the other side for 5 minutes. Flip the pears again and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the mixture has browned and begun to caramelize. If you find that the sugar is browning too quickly while cooking the pears reduce the heat slightly.

While the pears are cooking in the skillet take out your pie dough and roll it out thinly so it is large enough to cover the top of your skillet (tip: if your skillet has a lid use this to measure).

Once the pears are done cooking in the skillet remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the rolled out pie dough to cover the pears in the skillet. Using a wooden spoon tuck the edges of the pie crust around the inside edge of the skillet to form a rim for when the pie is taken out of the pan. Cut slits in the dough to form vents to allow steam to escape and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Allow the skillet to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before demolding the tarte. When it comes to removing the pie, it is no time to be shy or hesitate; be bold! Take a serving platter or plate and cover the top of the skillet, then quickly flip the skillet over to invert the the tarte and remove the skillet. Put the platter on the wire cooling rack for 30 minutes.

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