Upside down pear tart

Serves: 6
Course: Dessert
Cooking Time: 0 hr 40 mins
  • Serves 6-8
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, cut into a round the size of the pan
  • 5 medium-sized pears, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 200g sugar (mixed with seeds of ½ vanilla pod, ½ tsp each of ground nutmeg and cardamom)
  • 50g butter
  • 70ml water
  • zest of 1 lemon

Apples and pears are the harbingers of winter. They are also the basis of lots of delicious hearty dishes that help us to cope with the change in the season and the hard weather to come. Autumn is a time when the emphasis changes in the kitchen and we leave behind some of the lighter, almost ethereal, dishes of summer and turn towards something more earthy, maybe less refined.

Even though this is basically a simple dish, the recipe is all about patience and really first class ingredients. At The Cliff House we make individual tarts but at home I would suggest making a big one to share with family or friends. The best tartes tatins are made, cooked and eaten at once, served with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and a dash of Baileys. You don’t hang around with this dish.

Pre-heat the oven to 175°C. You will need a non-stick frying pan with a 24cm base.

Add the sugar mix to the water in the pan. Dissolve on a medium heat and then let it come to the point of caramelisation.

Add the butter and pears and soften them slowly on a low heat, turning the pears so they are cooked on both sides. Make sure the pears are round side down in the caramel and arrange them evenly in the pan.

Cover with the pastry and press and mould it tight around the pears. Then bake until the pastry crust is brown and crisp.

Remove from the oven and place a large plate on top of the pan/pie. Turn it upside down very quickly and remove the pan to reveal the tarte.

Sprinkle the top (which was, until recently, the bottom) with lemon zest.

Cut into slices and serve directly with vanilla ice cream and Baileys Irish Cream.

From Cliff House Hotel - The Cookbook by Martijn Kajuiter. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade 2010