This started out as an interpretation of Jamie Oliver’s Pear Tarte Tatin. Unfortunately, I discovered that I didn’t buy enough pears for this job. I also reinvented the pastry dough, using rough puff pastry instead of the classic. Funnily enough, it turned out quite good considering the dramatic changes I applied in this recipe. For tarts it’s always nice to have some kind of garnish, so I made my own Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream. The result was an interestingly aromatic dessert and I thought it was good enough to include it in my blog. Once again, I used my intuition here and most of the quantities are estimates. Nevertheless, try it out and adjust to your taste.
I’ll always remember this dessert, mostly because it was part of a dinner I gave to my dad’s band, Os Amigos do Zé. I was actually scared because the main dish was something I had never made before. But everyone seemed to enjoy (including me), though I admit to getting into stress mode in the preparation of all those things! It was really fun and I always like to have music and people related to it around me. My dad secretly taped a little jam, and I will put some photo-shoots of it here!
Apple-Pear and Cinnamon-Walnut Tatin
Let’s start by the pastry. It is adapted form Michel Roux’s Pastry: Sweet & Savoury. This is easier to make than classic puff pastry, and it’s less flaky. But don’t worry, if you do this recipe correctly it will rise (as you can see in the picture).
Rough Puff Pastry
250g very cold butter, cut into small pieces
250g all-purpose flour
125ml ice-cold water
pinch of salt
Put the flour in a mound on the work surface and make a well. Put the butter and salt and work them together with the fingertips of one hand, gradually drawing the flour into the centre with the other hand. When the cubes of butter have become small pieces and the dough is grainy, gradually add the iced water and mix until is all incorporated, but don’t overwork the dough. Roll it into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Flour the work surface and roll out the pastry into a rectangle (about 40x20cm). Fold the two ending flaps inwards, wrap with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll the pastry into the same rectangle and make the 4 1/2 turns the same way as in classic puff pastry. If you don’t understand, here’s a video so you can see exactly how it goes. It’s fine, I didn’t get it until I actually saw how it was made. This is a good video, by Vah Reh Vah. The beginning of the process is not like this one, but the important part here are the turns. Don’t pay attention to the time limits, this dough can be resistent.
For the Filling:
3 ripe pears
3 apples (I’m not picky about them. Pink Ladies’ were the only ones I had)
knob of butter
100g caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 tsp roughly chopped walnuts
1 egg, slightly beaten and a splash of milk for eggwash
Preheat your oven to 200ºC (400ºF) and place your tray on the middle rack.
Peel, core and cut the fruit in quarters. Sprinkle them with the ginger and cinnamon and set aside. Roll out your pastry on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of a coin. It’s better if it’s already prepared, because when the fruit is ready and out of the heat, the pan will start to caramelize in no time and it will be hell to unmold the tart.
In a pan, heat the sugar with the water on low until it starts to brown lightly. Add the butter and the walnuts and let it melt and incorporate. Add the fruit and gently fold in the caramel sauce, making sure that all the pieces are coated and shiny. Let them cook in low heat until soft and golden.
Remove from the heat and carefully place your pastry over the pan, tucking it in the sides so nothing comes out. If you want to make this task easier to prevent the pastry from ripping, wrap it around your rolling pin and unroll over the pan. When I saw my pastry chef do this for another dessert I gave leaps of joy. I finally understood why I had such a hard time placing a pastry on a turn-over.
Brush the top of your tart with the eggwash and place it in the oven. It will take about 25-30 minutes to be ready, although I consider this to be subjective when it comes to puff pastry. It’s not difficult for you to know when it’s done. The top will be golden and the puff pastry characteristics (such as the thin layering of sheets) will be noticeable.