Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pear Tart Tatin

This morning I continued exploration in baking by making a Pear Tart Tatin. It has been on my to-do list for a long time and I finally got around to it and it was yummy! It was pretty easy to make as well because it called for puff pastry sheet rather than having to make the crust dough from scratch. Here is is an excerpt from Wikipedia about the origins of this dessert as well as photos from my own creation (also above)!

Tarte Tatin is an upside-down apple tart in which the apples are caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked.

Tradition says that the Tarte Tatin was first created by accident at the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France in 1898. The hotel was run by two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin. There are conflicting stories concerning the tart's origin, but the predominant one is that Stéphanie Tatin, who did most of the cooking, was overworked one day. She started to make a traditional apple pie but left the apples cooking in butter and sugar for too long. Smelling the burning, she tried to rescue the dish by putting the pastry base on top of the pan of apples, quickly finishing the cooking by putting the whole pan in the oven. After turning out the upside down tart, she was surprised to find how much the hotel guests appreciated the dessert. An alternative version of the tart's origin is offered on the Brotherhood of the Tarte Tatin website,[1] according to which Stéphanie baked a caramelised apple tart upside-down by mistake. Regardless she served her guests the unusual dish hot from the oven and a classic was born.

The Tarte became a signature dish at the Hotel Tatin and the recipe spread through the Sologne region. Its lasting fame is probably due to the restaurateur Louis Vaudable, who tasted the tart on a visit to Sologne and made the dessert a permanent fixture on the menu at his restaurant Maxim's of Paris.

Tarte Tatin has to be made with firm dessert apples: cooking apples will not do as they mulch down into a purée. In North America, Tarte Tatin is typically made with Golden Delicious apples, which are not the type used for American-style apple pie.

Tarte Tatin can also be made with pears, peaches, pineapple, tomatoes,[2] other fruit, or vegetables, such as onion.

The pears are simmering in the pan after the sugar, water, and apple cider vinegar had browned for 15 minutes

The puff pastry draped over the cooked pears - the whole pan was then covered and placed in the oven

This is the tart after cooking in the oven for 15 minutes. Now the lid stays off and it cooks another 15 minutes more

The tart is done cooking! The center has the second layer on it because after cutting the pastry puff into a circle, I had extra dough because I had rolled it too thin. I just placed on top because this is technically the bottom of the dessert.

Inverted and Finished!

If I make this again I will use peaches in order to bring out a more tart taste to the dessert. Pears are pretty sweet, especially after they have been cooking. Pineapple is probably to acidic for this type of dessert, but they may be good too. After all, the fruit is cooked in sugar for 15 minutes before the baking begins, so the pineapple may end having a great balance once it is all finished.